Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18

"Why do they hate us?"

--George W. Bush; image from Dan Levy, "U.S. Goalies Need To Cover Up Mask Tributes, Propaganda," Sporting News

"During the cold war, public diplomacy was simple."

--Patricia Lee Sharpe, in Whirled View


Winning Hearts and Minds: from Fallacy to Near Impossibilty - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View:

"Is there ever a discussion of American public diplomacy that fails to endorse the idea of 'winning hearts and minds.' Winning hearts and minds: it produces such a heartwarming feeling. And who could want otherwise? Wanting and getting, however, are not the same. I am suggesting here that 'winning hearts and minds,' as such, was always a delusive goal. That being the case, given our present national condition, winning either is close to inconceivable. ... In the past, public diplomacy was easy because we could point to America’s reasonably shining example. We were so cocky we freely admitted to the odd wart on the body politic. And now? With the U.S. more like a once healthy body eaten away by a very nasty aggressive cancer, the best we can say is this: well, if you look really hard beneath the ugly stuff, there’s still something attractive, sort of. ... Given the realities of the U.S. budget, it's no wonder that traditional diplomacy, public diplomacy and development aid have been migrating to the Pentagon, handmaidens all to our present inability to achieve our goals through non-coercive means. ... Meanwhile, public diplomacy is increasingly transformed into the double talk of a mammoth military propaganda apparatus that has been brought to bear on the American people as well. The sadly predictable result: a misinformed, frightened people agrees that the insatiable military budget is indeed untouchable, except to be increased, thus ensuring that an America that once gave heart to the world is less and less possible." Image from

Clinton's single-minded focus on Iran - Gregg Carlstrom, The Majlis: "I understand that the administration wants to bolster international support for sanctions on Iran, and Clinton is leading that push. Her interviews were perhaps aimed more at Arab governments than Arab publics. But it seems like she, and the administration, missed three good opportunities to speak directly to the general population (okay, two, since nobody watches Al-Hurra). Iran tends to be a second- or third-order concern in the region, compared to Iraq or the Israeli-Arab conflict or the actions of repressive Arab regimes. But it's dominating U.S. public diplomacy in the Middle East."

Under Secretary McHale Visits Madrasa, Hosts Web Chat With Students in Bangladesh - Ethiopian Review: "'Are women encouraged to join defense services?' asked a high school student

from Brahmanbaria High School at a web chat hosted by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale during her visit to Bangladesh on February 8. As students from schools throughout the country logged on to discuss issues with the Under Secretary, their questions ranged from the status of women in the United States, to co-ed versus women's only education, to whether women received equal pay with men, and how American women balanced career and family responsibilities. ... For more information about the Global Connections and Exchange program in Bangladesh, including a transcript of the web chat with the Under Secretary, please see the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs' website." Image from

Aid Diplomacy: Why Helping Haiti Helps You
- Naomi Leight, NeonTommy: "During the last month, the world has been inundated with tragic images from the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. Scenes of complete devastation at the capital of the impoverished nation have been seared into global consciousness. The world's heart, as well as its pocketbook, has gone out to Haiti. Millions of dollars were sent to various aid organizations to facilitate the distribution of food, clothing, and medical care. More money will contribute to the building and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. These actions by governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are an aspect of public diplomacy known as 'aid diplomacy.' Public diplomacy seeks to facilitate the creation of mutually beneficial relationships, and the earthquake in Haiti has motivated many nations to put aside their differences and join together to provide disaster relief for the country."

Hip-Hop and Breakdance Performance at TYO Center - tomorrowsyouth: "Havikoro and Identity gave an electric and interactive performance for almost 200 community members at the TYO Center in the Zafer al-Masri Foundation Building in Nablus today. Young Nablus residents were engaged from start to finish, clapping, dancing and at times singing along with the performers. Earlier in the day, Havikoro, a Houston-based hiphop and breakdance group, held a workshop for Identity, a group of young dancers and rappers from Askar refugee camp in Nablus. Together, the performers worked to improve their craft and talked about the importance of art in building bridge and transcending national boundaries. ... The universality of music – and hiphop culture specifically – were evident from the first glimpse of their workshop this morning, when it was impossible to separate one group from the other. Many attendees were overheard wondering who was who throughout the performance! Participants also bonded across their language barrier about the need for an Energy Drink after lunch, and enjoyed a Red Bull together before putting finishing touches on the performance.

This immediate bond demonstrates the power of public diplomacy, particularly engaging youth, as described by Undersecretary Judith McHale – check out our post about her comments on the subject here. Earlier this month, Ann Stock – Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs – confirmed the Public Diplomacy’s section’s commitment to such cultural exchanges, citing them as 'essential for achieving America’s foreign policy objectives and for strengthening America’s international leadership.'” Image from article

Democracy in America: Authoritarianism and the internet – M.S., The Economist: "In fact, regimes like China and Iran (and Vietnam, and others) are not unduly worried about English-language content produced in America flooding their countries, because few of their citizens can read English. (It's not even the same alphabet. Cuba, admittedly, may be different.) What really worries such countries is politically independent material produced in local languages. Such countries often allow the English-language websites of, say, the BBC or Voice of America to be viewed unimpeded inside the country. It is the Mandarin-, Farsi-, and Vietnamese-language sites of such news organisations that are blocked." Via

My New Media Mission to USNATO - Katharine, Public Diplomacy Interactive: "As a student of public diplomacy who is interested in utilizing the tools of new media as public diplomacy, it is really encouraging to know that the State Department sees value in these new media methods as well."

The Check Is in the Mail... – Laura McGinnis, ManIC - "For Bono and Joni Mitchell and the Beatles, inaction means the disappointment of seeing your goals unrealized, and the danger of being cited in snarkish articles and blogs for years to come. But for states, the stakes are much higher.

Governments who engage in flashy public diplomacy outreach without the policy or action to carry their goals to fruition risk not only personal disappointment and ridicule; they risk isolating the very groups they'd hoped to target and undermining their own efforts by failing to fulfill expectations." Image from ManIc blog

Finnish embassy leads way in green public diplomacy - Susan Zalkind, Daily Free Press: "Finnish environmental policies should set an example for renewable energy and green architecture in the United States, Finnish ambassador, Pekka Lintu said at Harvard University on Wednesday. Lintu spoke to a round table audience of about 12 in a lecture entitled 'Green Public Diplomacy: Sustainability as Finland’s Message in the United States,' at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. The discussion focused primarily on the Finnish Embassy in Washington, D.C., which recently earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for green buildings, making it the only embassy to do so."

NATO ready to cooperate with Kazakhstan in science, public diplomacy-Times of Central Asia (subscription: From Google entry: "Serik Utembayev has met with NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Jean-Fran├žois Bureau today in Brussels."

Top American Jewish Leaders Arrive in Israel - eJP, Jewish Philanthropy:

"The 36th annual Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Leadership Mission opened in Jerusalem today with more than 100 leaders representing the 52 member organizations. During a press conference, Chairman Alan Solow and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein spoke of the continuing strong relationship between Israel and the US administration as well as US Congress in many areas, noting the unanimous Senate support for sanctions against Iran, overwhelming strong rejection of the Goldstone Report, as well as the overwhelming support of Operation Cast Lead and the maintenance of Israel’s military qualitative edge. 'The bonds between Israel and the US grow stronger as stakes are bigger than ever,' Solow and Hoenlein stated, 'The polls show American support Israel in greater numbers despite a general trend toward isolationism.' The Conference of Presidents’ heads stressed the importance of public diplomacy and hasbarah efforts, which require Israel and the Diaspora to work together: 'We must form a common approach to overcome the attempts to bar Israeli and Jewish speakers and shout them down in campuses. Hasbarah must go on the offensive. While there have been dialogues during the year, the positives in US-Israel relations do not get media attention,' Solow and Hoenlein noted." Image from

Positive Views of Israel, Brought to You by Israelis - Ethan Bronner, ‎ New York Times: "The Israeli government, deeply worried about the country’s declining international image, began a campaign on Wednesday to turn every Israeli — and ultimately every Jew — into a traveling public relations agent. ... One main message of the campaign is that Israel is a technically advanced and diverse society and that its government policies are not the source of regional conflict. It notes that a number of important agricultural breakthroughs have occurred here, including drip irrigation and the development of the cherry tomato. ...

Eytan Gilboa, director of the Center for International Communications at Bar-Ilan University outside Tel Aviv and a longtime advocate of improved public diplomacy for Israel, said that some of what the ministry published was fine, but he added that he did not believe that the country’s poor image had to do with a misperception that it was primitive. 'This country’s main challenges are the false comparison people make with an apartheid state and the questioning of its right to exist,' Mr. Gilboa said. 'And the pamphlets don’t deal with those.'” Image from

'Take media fight to enemies' backyard' - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "Israel must begin to wage a negative campaign against its enemies in order to win the media war, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer said at the Jerusalem Conference in the capital’s Regency Hotel on Wednesday. Dermer spoke on the same day that the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry revealed a new strategy focusing on training ordinary Israelis to represent the country abroad with positive messages. He made no reference to the new approach and instead focused on the effectiveness of negative campaigning. ... 'Our strategic decision is to improve Israel’s image by focusing on the country’s positives and training our citizens to deal with attacks,' a ministry official said. 'However, we see nothing wrong with also adopting a strategy of portraying the enemies and critics of Israel as negatively as they are.'”

Israel's PR problem: More than hummus - Gregg Carlstrom, The Majlis:

"A poll released last month found that 91 percent of Israelis think their country has 'an image problem.' The Israeli foreign ministry has settled on a solution: A new public relations Web site, an advertising campaign, and PR coaching for groups of Israeli travelers heading abroad. ... Oy. I mean, in a general sense, yes, public diplomacy is important for Israel: there are people who think Israel doesn't have a right to exist, and (from an Israeli perspective) it's important to push back against those arguments. But the focus here is absurd. Israel isn't losing support among the American left because progressives hate hummus. It's losing support because (for example) deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon refuses to meet U.S. congressional delegations if they're affiliated with J Street. If it turns out Mossad was involved in the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh assassination (we'll write more about this tonight, I promise), and Mossad agents used fake European passports, that action -- not a lack of culinary variety -- will cost Israel European support." Image from

Israel Seeks to Recruit Every Jew, Everywhere, For New Propaganda PR Offensive - Jonny Diamond, The L Magazine: "Calling your mother every Friday and avoiding bacon-infused cocktails is no longer enough—WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE ISRAEL'S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE LATELY? Well, now's your chance, as the Israeli Ministry of Information and Diaspora Affairs (which has long been my band name of choice) is calling on all Jews to improve Israel's mean old military image, and is providing the support documents to help you do so. But it's not just about trying to justify asymmetrical war or economic apartheid (although, good luck with that), the Israeli government is apparently concerned that the world perceives it as a rough, primitive desert country, with little sophistication or luxury—to wit, the new PR website features three satirical videos with international reporters covering, respectively, transit by camel, fireworks as explosions, and outdoor picnic grilling as 'primitive.' So, once you've had a chuckle, it's up you—member of international Jewry—to spread the word about how nice Israel really is. ... So yeah, you can change the picture. Just remember, as the Ministry of Information reminds us, Israel invented the cherry tomato, so make sure to bring that up next time you're at a dinner party (but don't bring up these guys, or else this jerk will think you're an anti-Semite)."

Meeting of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy - US Department of State - ‎"The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy has rescheduled

its public meeting to March 15, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the conference room of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) located at 1850 K Street, NW, Fifth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006. This will replace the previously scheduled February 11 meeting (canceled due to inclement weather) at the same location. The Commissioners will discuss public diplomacy issues, including interagency collaboration in advancing U.S. government public diplomacy efforts." Image from

Academic Conferences as Public Diplomacy: My Visit to the University of Leeds - Erin Kamler, Public Diplomacy Interactive

U.S. Students Studying Abroad and U.S. Public Diplomacy Efforts: A Historical Review - International Higher Education Consulting Blog™: A Source for News On International Educational Exchange & Mutual Understanding by David Comp: "In three weeks I’ll be presenting on the topic 'U.S. Students Study Abroad and U.S. Public diplomacy Efforts: A Historical Review' during the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference being held in Chicago.

My presentation is part of a larger panel discussion entitled 'Comparative Perspectives on Measuring the Impact of Study Abroad: Life, Society, and Public Diplomacy Re-imagined'." Image from article

Harbor grad sets out to pursue diplomatic career - Danielle Kapral, Harbor Light - "Jackson ( Jack) Dart, Harbor Springs High School and 2009 University of Michigan graduate, currently studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, recently received word from his mother Abby that he passed his government background test, a requirement to become an employee of the United States State Department. ... [Dart:] 'One of the main reasons I was hired is because President Obama is ramping up the foreign service and hiring numbers, given that 'soft power' seems to be more important than ever in today’s international relations. Although he is sending troops to the Middle East, I think his actions have definitely supported his rhetoric about the importance of diplomacy and resolving conflicts peacefully. For me, this is something I strongly believe in and it is an honor to have an opportunity to be a part of that.' 'Basically Foreign Service officers, like myself, work in embassies abroad doing research in one of five career tracks (these include politics, public diplomacy, consular work, management work, and economics). Working in economics I will be researching and drafting reports that will eventually be sent on up the ranks to people like Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton who will make decisions based on our report.'”

Women missing from USG ballot - Ariel Edwards-Levy, Daily Trojan: "The eight candidates running for Undergraduate Student Government executive office come from diverse backgrounds, but there is one thing they all have in common: They’re all male. ... Though there is nothing stopping women from running, Maya Babla, a junior majoring in communication and public diplomacy who ran for vice president last year, said it could be a while before women are consistently running for president."


(Below images from: Inglourious Basterds poster set - All Photography is Propaganda)

... And One for Doctors, Too - Vanessa Bradford Kerry, New York Times:

The United States should create a service corps of doctors, nurses and medical technicians to deploy to humanitarian disasters like the one that struck Haiti last month. Via LB

Outsourcing the war on terror: Having killed off the CIA interrogation program, Obama can claim the moral high ground about ‘torture’ — as Pakistan does the dirty work - Marc A. Thiessen, USA Today: Allowing foreign intelligence services to question terrorists is a loophole in President Obama's new, morally superior interrogation policy — one that allows tough interrogations to proceed without staining Obama's reputation.

Operation against Taliban enters 5th day but NATO has yet to wipe out militants - Abdul Haleem, Xinhua:

Contrary to expectations, the militants have resisted the advancing Afghan and NATO-led troops in Marja district of southern Helmand province over the past five days as authorities and locals admitted Wednesday that sporadic fighting is continuing. Taliban outfit not only in military field but also in propaganda war has been matching the well-equipped NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) inviting journalists to visit the battle ground and judge who has upper hand.

U.S. Goalies Need To Cover Up Mask Tributes, Propaganda - Dan Levy, Do we have a tag for "terrible Olympic oversight" or "missing the point" on The Sporting Blog? I'd like to use both of them to tag this post about the IOC asking U.S. Olympic goalies Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick to remove specific phrases from their masks before the men's ice hockey competition starts today. Quick was asked to take the term "Support our Troops" off the back of his helmet. Yes, Support our Troops is not allowed, as it violates an IOC rule of propaganda. Again, take it away, AP: Szymon Szemberg, spokesman for the International Ice Hockey Federation, confirmed both players will be told to take those messages off their equipment because it's the governing bodies' task to enforce IOC rule No. 51 that bars advertising, demonstrations and propaganda.

Islamic Indoctrination vs. Education - Nonie Darwish, FrontPage Magazine:

Muslim propaganda is relentless in trying to misportray Islam in the eyes of the West. While mainstream mosques and Muslim leaders across the globe are shouting jihad, death to America, death to the Jews, and encouraging Muslims to take over the West, our children are told if you fear such threats you are an Islamophobe.

WWI Propaganda Links - Mr. Harrington: Grade 8 U.S. History: Propaganda of World War I Use the list along the right hand side to navigate by country Great list of propaganda posters
Ok posters
Multimedia tour of World War I Present Propaganda


"I like my Canadians in their normal, sane estate."

--Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute

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