Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31

"More recently, the Defense Department has even organized its information operations into named 'operations' ... Today, the 'named' operations include Operation Earnest Voice, which covers U.S. Central Command; Assured Voice, for European Command; and Operation Objective Voice, for U.S. African Command."

--Sharon Weinberger, “Info or Propaganda? Pentagon Efforts Reviewed,” Aol.News; image from

Event: Engaging Iran: Challenges and Opportunities for Civil Society


Obama's six-hour trip to Kabul - Gregg Carlstrom, The Majlis:

"I'm just now catching up on the news (what little there was) from President Obama's quick hop to Afghanistan. Needless to say, the trip itself won't accomplish much: A six-hour visit to Kabul, half of it spent at Bagram Air Base, won't cause Hamid Karzai to rethink his politics or policy. But it fits into a broader public diplomacy campaign aimed at putting pressure on Karzai. American and European diplomats are whispering (anonymously, of course) about the Afghan president 'slipping away from the West,' and Karzai's recent visit with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad apparently ruffled some feathers in Washington." Image from

Spinning Obama’s Foreign-Policy Flops - Jennifer Rubin, Contentions, Commentary: "Let’s get real — Obama has not really used his charisma to promote anything but himself. ... [D]espite all the reverential treatment by liberal elites, Obama has yet to develop effective ties with allies or used public diplomacy to further American interests. His infatuation with dictatorial regimes, his embrace of multilateralism, and his willingness to kick allies (e.g., Israel, Poland, the Czech Republic, Britain, Honduras) in the shins have left America more isolated and rogue states more emboldened than ever before."

Disaster Responses Illustrate Evolution of Public Diplomacy - Siobhan Sheils, DipNote:

"[I]t is clear that public diplomacy is not just serving a public relations, or 'Brand U.S.' function; it is also saving lives. ... [T]he U.S. response to recent natural disasters in Latin America shows an acknowledgement that people-to-people problem-solving is a major component of '21st Century Diplomacy.'" Image from

Religious freedom needs an advocate - Thomas Farr, On Faith, Washington Post: "On March 30 a diverse group of scholars, policy thinkers, and religious freedom activists told President Obama that his administration was missing an enormous opportunity -- for the nation and the world -- by failing to advance international religious freedom in American foreign policy. 'The absence of senior level leadership in your administration on this critical issue,' their letter warned the President, 'is of grave and urgent concern.' The letter, which was organized by Freedom House and the Institute for Global Engagement, was written by my colleague and co-author, Dennis Hoover, editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs. He and I have elsewhere urged the Obama administration to take advantage of the opportunity to correct mistakes made by earlier administrations in the field of international religious freedom. ... Perhaps the boldest proposal in the letter is that the administration develop strategies that link 'religious freedom policy and other key foreign policy areas, including national security (especially counter-insurgency and stability operations), development, conflict resolution/reconciliation, public diplomacy, democracy promotion and consolidation, and U.S. engagement of multilateral institutions and international law.'"

Ethiopia, already jamming VOA shortwave, may also be blocking VOA's website - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Ethiopia and the Art of the Outrageous Statement - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog:

"We are all accustomed to hearing political figures, especially from authoritarian countries, make outrageous statements. But I think Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi may have uttered the most outrageous statement of all this past month when he compared Voice of America broadcasts to Ethiopia to the broadcasts of Radio Milles Collines, the infamous 'hate radio' blamed for inciting the Rwandan genocide of 1994." Image from

Tech Weekly live: Personal privacy and public diplomacy - Aleks Krotoski, The Guardian: "Becky Hogge from the Open Rights Group joins Aleks Krotoski and Charles Arthur in a special Tech Weekly, recorded live at the Science Museum's Dana Centre. Our other guests? Austin Heap is a wunderkind hacker who used his own encryption software, Haystack, to open up the Iranian internet in the aftermath of the disputed elections in 2009. By breaking through the Iranian government's blockade, the software allowed people on the ground in Tehran to access communication tools they could use to describe unfolding events to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, personal surveillance has reached an all-time high: our web traffic is observed and recorded by governments and corporations. With every click we create personal digital identities that 'belong' to other people. Should we be worried about the private becoming public in this way, or should we reclaim ourselves using encryption software that hides who we are and where we go online? NO2ID's Christine Zaba will be on hand to lead you through the issues and the options."

Legitimizing (and questioning) culture’s utility – Karen, Culture, Please: "Early last Thursday morning I joined other students of cultural policy and international relations to hear a panel discussion on the topic of cultural diplomacy. The panel, entitled 'Culture as a tool: Diplomacy and International Exchange in the 21st Century' was co-presented by NYU’s John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress and the Wagner School’s Student Network Exploring Arts and Culture (SNEAC). ... The ... presentations were directed at making the case for culture so that it will be recognized and valued more frequently as a strategic tool. In my professional life, I often find myself making some of the same arguments. As I left Thursday’s panel, however, I found myself questioning my eagerness to promote 'culture as a tool'.

The relegation of ‘culture’ to the toolkit as an instrument to be wielded by those in power to affect particular sorts of social change seems to threaten some of cultures’ unique qualities. The power of culture lies in its insistence to evolve, experiment, react, and sometimes, to push back. Culture, however you want to define it, may not fit so comfortably in its toolkit slot. At the same time, if culture is not nurtured and valued outside of its instrumental use (like culture-based interventions in service of development goals) it may prove to be an empty tool without cultural practitioners to wield it and cultural contexts to receive it." Image from

The Arts Policy Diaries: Canada 150 – A Small Act of Citizenship - Shannon Litzenberger, Shannonlitz’s Blog: "Admittedly, I tuned in to the Liberal ‘Canada 150‘ conference this weekend (intermittently, but yes it’s true). ... I watched with interest parts of the panel on ‘The Creative and Competitive Economy: Culture in the digital world’ on Saturday as well as ‘Canada’s Presence in the World of 2017′ on Sunday morning. ... The Sunday morning session was all about foreign policy, with a focus on trade, defense and international aid. The panel included Pierre Martin, Jeremy Kinsman and Janice Stein. ... Kinsman was my favourite – clearly an experienced diplomat and now commentator on foreign affairs for the CBC. ... So, as I was watching the debate ensue, I typed my name into the little ’submit a question’ box at the corner of my computer screen. I asked (obviously tongue and cheek): 'Was the removal of culture as the third pillar of public diplomacy a positive step toward strengthening international relationships?' To my surprise, the question was addressed! It was Kinsman who replied with gusto by saying that 'the removal of culture was a stupid step backwards… Culture is a fundamental vehicle of communication.'”

Romanian-Moldovan dialogue at Foreign Ministry - Financiarul:

"Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi had on Monday, March 29, a meeting with the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Moldova, Vitalie Marinuta, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) informs in a release. ... The two sides welcomed the restart of bilateral cooperation in the military field, especially in the educational area, as well as the signature of the Protocol of collaboration between Romania’s Air Forces and the Moldovan Air Force. Within the meeting, the positive role played by the NATO Center of Information and Documentation in the Republic of Moldova was appreciated in the field of public diplomacy." Image from

Baku to host NATO conference - News.Az: "A conference on the 61st anniversary of NATO called 'NATO-past and future' will be held in Baku on April 1. According to the news service for the Romanian embassy in Azerbaijan, the event will be attended by heads of diplomatic missions of the NATO member-states in Azerbaijan, representatives of the civil community, analysts, political scientists, NATO's public diplomacy department and NGOs."

When AIPAC said 'no' to Israel - Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Foreign Policy:

"The U.S.-Israel relationship has entered into a tailspin for the first time since 1991, when Secretary of State James Baker refused loan guarantees to Yitzhak Shamir's Likud government. Now, like then, the issue is Jewish settlements in areas Israel conquered in 1967. ... [M]ost clear-eyed observers of the Middle East regard the settlement enterprise as a public diplomacy disaster for Israel--not to mention a long-term strategic liability. If AIPAC is truly concerned about Israel's long-term security, it should be denouncing new settlements and demanding the dismantlement of existing ones with even greater fervor than the Obama administration." Image from article

How The World Sees The Netherlands - Giles Scott-Smith, "In mid-March Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen reported the results of an opinion survey on how other nations view the Netherlands. The purpose was to discover to what extent the domestic debate over Islam ('het binnenlandse moslimdebat') was affecting the country’s trade position. The report also included details of the Dutch public diplomacy activities designed to promote positive opinion abroad."

Indonesia’s Oil Palm Biomass Conversion: Facing the Global Challenge of Energy Sustainability - Guinandra Luthfan Jatikusumo, Envisioning The Future, Mapping Life: “'Government of Indonesia will decrease carbon emissions by 21% from the initial state, with the targeted year of 2020. On 2050, we pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 41% from the initial state.' The sentence above is a statement declared by the President of Indonesia, with credible inputs from Rahmat Witoelar, when Indonesia attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Is the statement politically-marinated? It could be. For scientists, the statement might be categorized as a challenging brainstorming of theoretical concepts and scientific applications. But for well seasoned diplomats, these statements can be likened to be a ‘Public Diplomacy’ which may brighten the image of Indonesia in the international society." Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono image from

Carolina Friends of the Foreign Service: "The purpose of the organization is to promote a better understanding of foreign policy-related issues among its members through periodic meetings and social events. Membership consists of present or former foreign service employees, military, and other US Government civil servants, former employees of private companies who have worked overseas and others interested in foreign affairs and/or public diplomacy."

You Communicate, But Do You Connect? - George Kennedy, Stepping Stones To Success. . . : "In the May 2010 issue of Success From Home magazine, John Maxwell, noted author and usiness advisor, penned an article entitled 'Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.'

Coming from a background in international communications and public diplomacy, he captured my attention. I read the article and highly recommend it – especially if you are an entrepreneur or run a home-based-business. Networking is at the heart of entrepreneurial success since it is all about communicating." Image from

Colleen_Graffy - Twitter: I'm in BA April 8-14. I also spoke on public diplomacy in Madrid 4 Spanish foreign service officers.


U.S. prep schools push to recruit foreign students - Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post:

At a time when many "Made in the USA" products struggle in the global marketplace, American diplomas are more coveted than ever. More than 650,000 international students were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in 2009, fueling a nearly $18 billion international education industry. Federal government data show that 35,000 foreign students attend primary or secondary schools in the United States, not including one-year cultural exchange programs or short-term language courses. Image from

Info or Propaganda? Pentagon Efforts Reviewed - Sharon Weinberger, Aol.News: Some eight years ago, a furor broke out over then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plans to open an office dedicated to influencing foreign audiences. The Office of Strategic Influence was quickly shuttered after publicity of its existence led to accusations that it was a propaganda arm of the Pentagon. But the Pentagon's efforts to influence foreign public opinion are again being scrutinized as part of a new review. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week ordered the two-week review of the military's information operations -- a term used to describe media and information campaigns targeted at foreign audiences but also sometimes referred to as propaganda. The review comes amid allegations that a civilian employee of the Defense Department used money allotted for these efforts to hire private intelligence operatives. Despite its controversial history, the scale and scope of the Pentagon's information operations has grown rapidly since 9/11. Military officials have argued for an aggressive strategy to counter what they characterize as extremist propaganda. The Pentagon's budget for information operations was $528 million for fiscal year 2010; the Defense Department has requested $384.4 million for fiscal year 2011.

The New Rules of War: The visionary who first saw the age of "netwar" coming warns that the U.S. military is getting it wrong all over again. Here's his plan to make conflict cheaper, smaller, and smarter - John Arquilla, Foreign Policy: In an era in which the attraction to persuasive "soft power" has grown dramatically, coercive "hard power" continues to dominate in world affairs. This primary reliance on coercive capabilities is also on display across a range of countries great and small, most notably the United States, whose defense policy has over the past decade largely become its foreign policy. From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to simmering crises with North Korea and Iran, and on to longer-range strategic concerns about East Asian and Central European security, the United States today is heavily invested in hard-power solutions. And it will continue to be. But if the radical adjustments in strategy, organization, and doctrine implied by the new rules of war are ignored, Americans will go on spending more and getting less when it comes to national defense. Networks will persist until they have the capability to land nuclear blows. Other countries will leapfrog ahead of the United States militarily, and concepts like "deterrence" and "containment" of aggression will blow away like leaves in the wind.

This Time We Really Mean It - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan must think that anti-Americanism plays well on the streets of Afghanistan and that by dabbling in it himself — as he did during his presidential campaign — he will strengthen himself politically. That is not a good sign.

Administration fell for propaganda trick during Obama trip to China‎ - World Tribune: Chinese propaganda organs have seized on a key blunder made by the Obama administration during the U.S. president's trip to China last November.

A joint U.S.-China statement issued Nov. 17 contained a new phrase that has since become a major element of Chinese strategy and propaganda, namely Beijing’s focus on promoting and protecting what it deems to be its “core interests.” White House advisers did not fully understand the new propaganda theme when they agreed to include the phrase in the joint statement that said: “The two sides agreed that respecting each other's core interests is extremely important to ensure steady progress in U.S.-China relations.” Image from

A flawed American political model aids China - Harold Meyerson, Washington Post: Don't conservatives realize that China is making hay in the developing world through a combination of throwing its wealth around and arguing that American democracy is little more than a veneer for plutocracy? At the height of the Cold War, the whole world was watching us, and we rose to the occasion by expanding equality and prosperity. The achievements of the postwar era were driven by domestic pressures, of course: the demands of African Americans for equality, the high rate of unionization, the ascendance of manufacturing over banking. But our foreign policy operatives took care to market our achievements and our culture -- the American model -- to a model-shopping world.

Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China - Andrew Jacobs, New York Times

Why Foreigners Can't Win in China - Warren Kozak, Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Effective Propaganda - Calvin's Canadian Cave Of Cool: "I am not a fan of wartime propaganda but I understand it.

Combine the vile octopus with a vile characterization of the Japanese and you have a very memorable and effective message. There is no mistaking what side you want to be on. So what if few octopus get killed in the advancement of liberty, right? Ah, to go back to a time when we actually believed that our side could do no wrong." Image from article

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30

“Poetry is news that stays news.”

--Ezra Pound; image from


Brokering Power, “Soft” and “Hard” - Mark Dillen, Public Diplomacy: "Along the gradient of power, there’s a possible mix of 'soft' and 'hard' varieties. The public diplomacy originating at the U.S. State Department is commonly associated with the 'soft' power of peaceful persuasion and cultural appeal; the foreign information efforts at the Pentagon are often in the service of some tangible 'hard' power goal.

The mixing often takes place in conflict zones, where a variety of forces and actors are in play. ... Undersecretary of State [for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Judith McHale is putting great emphasis on coordination between State and the Department of Defense, and the 'potential rebalancing of the respective roles, responsibilities, and resources of State and Defense in the public diplomacy and strategic communications arenas.' One hopes that this effort will encompass the murky world of Pentagon contracting for foreign 'information' activities, where clearly more oversight is needed." Image from

The Future of Public Diplomacy [review of Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, The Future of Public Diplomacy: An Uncertain Fate, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers/Brill Academic, 2009] - William A. Rugh, American Diplomacy: "This book is noteworthy for at least two main reasons. First, it is a rather comprehensive review of most of the literature directly or indirectly related to public diplomacy. ... [S]econd ... it gives considerable attention to the views of practitioners of public diplomacy who have had extensive experience doing it since they have been American Foreign Service Officers working at embassies and consulates abroad. ... I would recommend this book for university-level students who are interested in the subject and who want to gain an overview of the history and key issues in the current debate about public diplomacy. Of all the books published in the past decade, this one is perhaps the most comprehensive and balanced."

A career path less traveled - Susan Szafir, University of Texas at Austin News:

"The traditional role of a public diplomacy officer abroad is to connect the host country’s population with the American people, institutions and culture. Other Foreign Service career tracks include management, politics and economics. A public diplomacy post in Iraq is different than most, with the goal being reconstruction and stabilization of the country." Image from

Pakistan's Impressive Rebuilding Program In Afghanistan‎ - International Analyst Network: "Welcome to Pakistan's impressive -- and little known -- contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan in the past eight years. Add to this 500,000 Afghans who study in Pakistani schools, 28000 Afghan graduates from Pakistani colleges in 30 years, and three million Afghans who continue to live with us as our brothers and guests, add all of this and Pakistan easily beats India's one billion dollars in aid. ... It is interesting how very few American writers have acknowledged the Pakistani contribution. One reason for this is Pakistan's weak public diplomacy skills. Most Pakistanis don't know about this, let alone Afghans and the international media. Pakistanis wouldn't have discovered what different departments of the Pakistani government have been doing in Afghanistan if not for Pakistan's dynamic young Ambassador in Kabul Mr. Mohammad Sadiq. On March 23, 2010, Pakistan Day celebrations in Kabul, Ambassador Sadiq wrote an op-ed that was published in English- and Dari-language newspapers where he listed the Pakistani contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan."

"Jihadists of the World Unite", and Russia's Potential PD – Lena, Global Chaos: "[T]he public diplomacy challenge that Russia faces - especially regarding Western audiences – [is] precisely because Western (and particularly, American) politicians, civil society representatives, the media, and even the movies are constantly paining a brutal image of Russia, of the Russian people, and most importantly, of the Russian leaders.

For most part, those are incomplete, if not false. More importantly, however, is that the way Russia is always portrayed somehow makes it a 'special' case among the 'terrorism-stricken' countries." Image from

Spat Between China, US Over RMB Value Will Not Help Resolve Trade Disputes - Current Affairs, Socio-Economic Issues, Current Events, News - NewsDawn: "[O]n [the] diplomatic front, China also cannot afford to show its weakness. This is because within China, its economic transformation has been slow, its employment situation is grim and its societal tension is on the rise. Voices coming from China's civil society demanding for societal structural change are continued to be heard. The Chinese Government is now faced with a populist movement. At this period of time when the Chinese Government has to pay full attention to handle domestic challenge, China really cannot afford to show its weakness in public diplomacy."

Indonesian Cultural Center opens in Brussels‎ - Jakarta Post:

"The Indonesian ambassador to Belgium, Luxemburg and the European Union, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, opened the first Indonesian Cultural Center in Europe on de la Woluwe boulevard, Brussels, Belgium, on the weekend. The center will promote Indonesian culture, including art, cuisine, films and languages, said P.L.E. Priatna, the minister counsellor for social and cultural affairs and public diplomacy at the Indonesian embassy in Brussels." Image: The coat of Arms of Indonesia

Korean Tacos And Kimchi Diplomacy – Paul Rockower, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "South Korea has recently launched a serious re-branding effort. The South Korean government has been worried that the country’s brand has been underperforming in years past, and not at the level befitting a country that is the solid middle power that South Korea believes itself to be. ... Seoul has held public diplomacy commissions and brought in the experts to discuss how to raise awareness of Korea in the international community. The government tried various slogans with the appropriate buzzwords that never exactly connected or meant anything (‘Sparkling'? 'Be Inspired'? Really?). One area that the Korean government has recently chosen as a target for outreach is the realm of gastrodiplomacy. Gastrodiplomacy, simply put, is the act of winning hearts and minds through stomachs."

Tripping past the tourists — a guide to Israel programs – Jewish Chronicle: "GaP: Government and Politics in Israel%u2028[:]

This 10-month program combines a semester of study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with trips around Israel, volunteering projects and a public diplomacy course on how to advocate for Israel on campus." Image from

'Night jobs may have exposed Indians to attacks in Australia' - IANS, "Attacks on Indian students in Australia could be a result of night jobs and rough neighbourhoods they live in, an external affairs ministry official said Monday. Navneet Suri, a joint secretary with the ministry’s public diplomacy, told reporters during a press conference here that most Indian students in Australia were from a lower middle class strata of society, and ended up doing night jobs in rough downtown areas to make ends meet, and inadvertently exposed themselves to street crime."

In Other Words: IC in Quotes - Laura McGinnis, ManIC: "[F]or the citizen diplomat, is that going abroad is a challenging experience, one that forces people to re-evaluate their assumptions. Maintaining a blind devotion to one’s homeland to the exclusion of all other places is not profitable, nor is loving all places equally and uncritically. The wise response is to find a balance between the two, drawing from one’s cultural foundation and keeping an open mind to alternatives. In terms of cultural diplomacy and international communication, I think a common mistake is for participants to focus too intently on the end goal and not on the process, which, under the right circumstances, can be an end unto itself. Citizen diplomats, take note: Recognize, but don’t idealize, your roots. Keep an open mind.

And bring a towel." Image from

First Recipients of USC Africa Fund Named‎ - Dietmar Quistorf, USC News: "Three USC undergraduates were chosen as the inaugural recipients of the new USC Africa Student Fund, which they will use to pursue independent research projects this year on the African continent. [Among the] recipients [is] Silva Sevlian, a senior pursuing a joint B.A./M.A. degree in print journalism and public diplomacy. ... Sevlian will be studying the Armenian Ethiopian community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, focusing on the role of Christianity as a tool for public diplomacy between Armenia and Ethiopia. During her 16-day trip, she will conduct interviews with members of the Armenian Ethiopian community while taking video and audio footage and photographs to document the shrinking population. Upon her return to the United States, she will create a Web site documenting the research."

Selected for - the Legislative Fellowship Program (LFP) – Edward Ling Blog:

"I have been selected for a legislative fellowship program (LFP) by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL). Here an excerpt from their invitation letter: ... Congratulations on your selection as a delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders’ (ACYPL)Legislative Fellows Program (LFP) that will take place from March 28 – May 5, 2010. You have been chosen based on your outstanding professional accomplishments as well as your potential as a future leader in Malaysia. ... Your program will be an important professional development opportunity; one designed to strengthen your leadership and public diplomacy skills and enhance your knowledge of the United States as well as international relations. Specifically, the LFP is intended to enhance your understanding of the US governance, politics and policy making and the role of civil society plays in the American political process. While your schedule will include many professional meetings, we understand the importance and value of cultural activities and free time." Image from

Vanilla PD – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As I was driving around today I saw that on a stop sign, there was a sticker below the 'stop' that said: '...collaborate and listen.' I posted it on my facebook page, and got an interesting comment from my friend Leah stating 'A PD traffic sign.' The more I thought about it, the more I realized how right she was. Since collaboration and listening are fundamental facets of public diplomacy, then perhaps we should call Vanilla Ice an old skool public diplomat. Rather than an OG, he is an OPD. Word to your mother."


Obama's blitz-visit to Afghanistan is pure propaganda - The Voice of Russia:

As regards Obama's appeal to the Afghan authorities to step up the fight against drug trafficking, which is forming an economic basis for the extremists, this statement of the U.S. President can be qualified as a pure propaganda PR action. And NATO's recent rejection of the Moscow proposal to begin destroying the opium poppy crops in Afghanistan under the dubious pretext that the North Atlantic Alliance is not ready to deny the only source of revenue to the people living in the poorest country of the world offers proof of this. Image from

Milton Wolf Seminar: Al Jazeera English as networked journalism‎ - Laura McGann, Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard: One panelist, Shawn Powers, of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, went so far as to describe Al Jazeera English as an experiment in networked journalism. The channel’s shows, its website and spinoff experimental sites tap into its audience to develop story ideas, gather data and deepen engagement. That collaboration between audience and professionals makes it an interesting networked journalism example.

Israel insults the U.S. with go-it-alone tactics - Wayne Wickham, USA Today. Below image from

Lo, the Mideast Moves - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Obama’s has demonstrated that his focus on Israel-Palestine will not be diverted by Netanyahu’s push to place the Iranian nuclear program front and center. This is critical: Iran cannot be a Palestine-postponing pawn. Already, there are shifts in Israeli attitudes as a result of the new American clarity.

The internet is not freedom juice, and other notes on firewalls in China and elsewhere - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Google's lonely stand for human rights in China – Richard Cohen, Washington Post: Bald hypocrisy is why virtually no American firm has joined Google -- not Microsoft and not Yahoo -- or said they could not do business in a place where people were seized by the police and executed without so much as even a show trial. Business, as we all know from the "Godfather" movies, is business.

Will new national search engine challenge Google in Russia? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Critic says Russia Today "shows the country in a bad light" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Where a Century of Soviet Art Meets Ceramics‎ - Alisa Ballard, The Moscow Times: Bolshevik leaders after the revolution urged the nation’s artists to produce high-quality and powerful propaganda. Many of the greatest avant-garde artists of the day captured the spirit of the young state by brandishing revolutionary slogans in poetry, theater, paintings and film. Porcelain was no exception. Factories like Leningrad’s State Porcelain Factory, previously the Imperial Porcelain Factory, turned from producing dishware for aristocrats to producing it for the new Soviet regime.

The 1920s saw phrases such as “He who doesn’t work doesn’t eat” and “The kingdom of workers and peasants will have no end” etched around the edges of dinner plates by masters of ceramic art. Some of the porcelain propaganda on show does not need slogans to make its point. A small ceramic statue from 1921 titled “The Awakening East” is of a Muslim woman with bared breasts removing her religious head-covering while reading a Soviet newspaper. But not all of the works are propaganda. Most of the ceramic statues and dishware sets have no political agenda. Image from article

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29

--"Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth."

--Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662); image from


Entering The Network Phase In Public Diplomacy - Gerard Lemos and Ali Fisher, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The command and control structures of state actors in budgeting and decision-making, which are essential for traditional public legitimacy, are ill-suited to an evanescent virtual world requiring quick, flexible responses. Even more fundamentally, the people working in traditional state organisations are, for the most part, at a loss in the network world, not least because they are too old to have grown up in this world. … In the network phase of Public Diplomacy an organisation seeking diplomatic outcomes (whichever whatever sector they emanated from) would move from holding events, having contacts and organising exchanges to bringing all the people involved in those events and exchanges into a global network."

US Public Diplomacy Explained - Bo Zheng Hu, "Not too long ago, the term 'public diplomacy' was brought up by our number one newspaper in Singapore. The next US ambassador to Spore, David Adelman, wanted to score points in front of a Senate hearing to get his new job in Spore, and thus said that he is shooting from the hip when he comes over to try our chilli crab. He is also going to realise that contrary to what Chinese restaurants in the US claim, there is no such thing as Spore Fried Noodles in Spore. And there is also no US-styled democracy in Spore too. ... So WTF

is US 'public diplomacy' although some talked about its big evil empire implications? Well, it is actually the euphemism 'to promote the national interest of the United States through understanding, informing and influencing foreign audiences.' Oh. Ouch. So public diplomacy or foreign propaganda by another name, is expected anyway as that is what all embassies do – set up shop in another country and do their Jedi mind trick on the natives. Gunboats, missionaries and death stars just don’t do the trick anymore and it is up to embassy staff to strut their national stuff for their goals using pop culture to student exchanges to fast food chains to whatever soft power tools are available. Heh. Sporeans are not taught US-styled democracy for our own good, it is for the US’ own good! Errr hokay." Image from

Jihad in Philadelphia and Jihad USA - Tom Trento, Right Side News: "Frank Gaffney addresses the Defense Forum Foundation (DFF) in the House of Representatives on the topic of Shariah and, broadly defined, it's threat within the United States. Some topics include Shariah-Compliant finance and AIG, homeland security and the Muslim Brotherhood. ... QUESTION: To your comment on the QDR, the quadrennial homeland security review, obviously it's also a diplomacy and development review for the first time starting. You know, the offensive terms that DOD uses with human terrain or the diplomatic community uses with public diplomacy are all geared towards trying to shape hearts and minds outside our borders. And it's obvious that people are doing that to us through cyber means, through violent means and through cultural means. What would you like to have seen in the QDR and since the QDDR is still under development, what should we be trying to promote in that document? GAFFNEY: ... We have got to equip our people with the knowledge that that's what we're up against and we've got to counter it as though our lives depend on it because indeed they do."

Indo-US diplomacy classes for masses - Archis Mohan, Calcutta Telegraph: "When it comes to Indo-US ties, diplomacy must begin at home. This appears to be the thinking at the ministry of external affairs, which is unleashing a battery of retired ambassadors on India’s civil society. Their brief is to enlighten students, academics and journalists about New Delhi’s foreign policy in the 21st century, particularly the importance of the growing Indo-US relationship that many view with apprehension. The former ambassadors are lecturing at leading Indian universities under an 'outreach programme' started by the ministry’s public diplomacy division.

The first in the series was a lecture on March 20 by Ronen Sen, ambassador to the US from August 2004 to March 2009, at Lucknow University on the 'evolution of India’s relations with the USA.'” Sen image from article.

(Sub)Cultural Diplomacy - Laura McGinnis, ManIC: "So how does RT [the Russian government TV channel Russia Today] contribute to Russian public diplomacy? Let's just say it's not the sharpest tool in the Russian PD shed. In Soft Power, Joseph Nye notes of Cold War-era Soviet PD that it relied on methods such as promoting high culture, broadcasting and launching disinformation campaigns. These efforts were supported by the nation's considerable economic, military and technological hard power. Ultimately, however, Soviet soft power was undercut by the closed government, failure to effectively use pop cultural diplomacy and its own propaganda, which was undermined by its inconsistency with government policies. Today, high culture still features prominently in Russian PD. … Without proper financing, Russian pop culture can't hope to compete with more lucrative foreign competitors. And, clearly, cultural diplomacy is a task Russia's foreign-language news services can't carry alone."


How do you build a country brand? - Saher Sidhom, Nation Branding: A country brand should start with a coherent brand and attitude but allow for paradoxes.

A country brand should have a framework in which its paradoxical values can thrive, this framework is ultimately its culture. Don’t build country brands, use the country’s culture to contaminate other cultures. See also. Image from

Snapshot: Who buys American arms? – USA Today: Top buyer: South Korea ($4.7 billion).

Welcome to Europe: America has changed its course, perhaps forever - Pete Du Pont, Wall Street Journal: Now, for the first time in our history, we are becoming just another European nation, with bigger government, higher taxes, more regulation of almost everything, and the basic public-policy preference that the government, not we the people, should be in charge of the nation's choices.

The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters - Glenn Greenwald, Salon: A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France -- in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan. This classified Report was made publicly available: because it was leaked to and then posted by,the site run by the non-profit group Sunshine Press, that is devoted to exposing suppressed government and corporate corruption by publicizing many of their most closely guarded secrets. The public and private organizations most eager to maintain complete secrecy around what they do -- including numerous U.S. military and intelligence agencies -- are obviously threatened by WikiLeaks' activities, which is why they seek to harass and cripple them. See also. Image from

Some in Indonesia praise, seek to replicate China's fight against United States - Andrew Higgins, Washington Post: China has won a particularly strong following among those upset with the free-market policy prescriptions of the so-called "Washington consensus," which many Indonesians blame for a severe economic crisis in the late 1990s. The Washington-based International Monetary Fund is widely loathed in Indonesia.

China's propaganda machine busy as media indulge in Google-bashing - Michael Sainsbury, The Australian: As soon as Google announced on January 12 that it was prepared to walk away from its potentially extremely lucrative search business in China, the world's largest internet market, the country's massive propaganda machine swung into action. When it became clear about 10 days ago that Google was going to make good on that promise to shut its China search business, the Propaganda Ministry issued a typical edict: "Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market," it read.

In terms of internet content control, the Central Propaganda Department sits at the top, making sure outlets toe the party line. And there is also the State Council Information Office -- some might say a bit like the Prime Minister's Media Office in Australia -- which has established "Internet Affairs Bureau" to oversee all websites. The raft of stories that did emerge in the state-run press attacked Google and the US government. Image from

North Korea Warns South Over Buffer Zone - Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times: North Korea accused the United States and South Korea on Monday of creating provocations by allowing tourists and journalists into the heavily armed buffer zone that has divided the Korean Peninsula since the armistice signed more than a half century ago. In a statement reported by news agencies, the North demanded an end to the tours in the so-called demilitarized zone, calling them part of a pattern of “psychological warfare” and warning of “unpredictable incidents including the loss of human lives in this area for which the U.S. side will be wholly to blame.” While North Korean statements of belligerence are routine, the warning came as tensions in the Korean Peninsula were already high over the mysterious sinking of a South Korean naval patrol ship near the disputed border with the North on Friday. Regardless whether North Korea was involved, the vessel’s sinking reawakened South Koreans’ worst fears about the North Korean military. Ubiquitous propaganda billboards in North Korea’s cities and towns exhort its soldiers to turn themselves into kamikaze-like “human bombs” when war breaks out.

Kim's hold loosens as Koreans succumb to world view - Blaine Harden,

Evidence is mounting that Kim - Jong-il's propaganda is losing its grip on North Koreans; more than half the population listens to foreign news, grass-roots cynicism undercuts state myths, and discontent is rising even among elites. A survey of refugees has found that ''everyday forms of resistance'' in the North are taking root as large swaths of the population believe that pervasive corruption, rising inequity and chronic food shortages are the fault of the government - and not foreign forces. The report was prepared by the East-West Centre, a research group set up by the US Congress. Image from

Best Propaganda Posters Since they were Invented - No Fricken Clue. Below image from article

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 26-28

"The Russian and the Bulgarian find a 20-ruble bill, while walking in the street. The Russian, all excited, suggests, 'Let's share it as brothers would!' The Bulgarian replies, 'No, thanks. I'd rather share it equally.'"

-- A Soviet joke about the "special relationship" that existed between the USSR and Bulgaria; cited in Lena, Global Chaos; image from


'Mr. Trololo' Reflects On His Internet Success: 'Pleased...But Not Surprised' (via MP)


Roots of Russian Anti-Americanism - "Helle Dale and Dr. Ariel Cohen, both senior research fellows at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and Davis Institute, as well as Daniel Kimmage, a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute, agreed that the Russian government uses anti-Americanism to create an external enemy, to unite domestic support, and to bolster the authoritarian regime. Moscow also uses anti-Americanism to create negative global public opinion for the US, bolster a common adversary with China, Iran, Venezuela and other anti-Western regimes, thus promoting a model of the multi-polar world. ...

Unlike Russia, the US doesn’t need to create misleading documentaries or engage in propaganda, yet the Obama presidency failed to provide a comprehensive public diplomacy policy and leadership, Cohen said." Image from

The grand gala, feel better show called a dialogue - Shaheen Sehbai, The News International - "WASHINGTON: While at the Pakistan Day reception at the embassy building, the foreign and defence ministers arrived quietly and mingled with the large crowd, it were the wailing sirens and a large Pak-US welcome party at the embassy gate that welcomed the Army Chief General Kayani, who was as stoic and unsmiling as ever (probably he was missing his chain smoking). All cameras, men and women rushed towards him, Pakistanis and Americans, who were plenty in numbers wanted a handshake. ... The presence of Americans, in hordes, was a sign and a message that they have started to invest more in public image building or public diplomacy as it is called. An informed participant whispered in my ears that Washington was ready to spend $100 million for improving its image in Pakistan. But only changing cameras will not do the job, she said."

With Obamacare Passed, Will Obama Turn His Focus to Foreign Policy? - "For the recent Iranian new year, President Obama attempted to renew engagement with Iran on the nuclear issue by stating in another video message to the Iranian people that 'our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue [still] stands.' But in response, Iranian President Ahmadinejad rebuked his overture, promising to 'continue our work faster and with more decisiveness,' undoubtedly pointing toward its nuclear ambitions. Obama’s public diplomacy effort once again failed to persuade Iran from halting its nuclear ambitions, yet he appears to have no other tactic prepared." Image from

Obama Considers Health Care Reform Important Agenda of Presidency - Current Affairs, Socio-Economic Issues, Current Events, News - NewsDawn:

"Despite the fact that President Obama has cancelled his scheduled visit to Australia and Indonesia and absorbed the embarrassment in public diplomacy by staying back in Washington to lobby the lawmakers, he still could not convince 34 Democrat lawmakers to change their minds and support his health care reform bill. The fact that President Obama has such a narrow victory in getting his health care bill passed by the Congress has reflected the reality that his health care reform plan does not reflect the views of the majority US citizens."

Racial slurs, Death threats on Congressmen: Violence, Intimidation, Enter US Politics – Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "Can the United States advocate non-violent political process in Third World nations – democratic or otherwise - after the entire nation witnessed death threats to U.S. Congressmen, vandalizing Democratic Party political offices, racial slurs on Black Congressmen who were civil rights leaders in the sixties, intimidation of political opponents, spiting on a Black Congressman while entering the Congress Hall past few days following the historic legislation that overhauled the nation’s healthcare which was overdue six to eight decades? ... With the revival of racial politics, racial epithets, death threats to lawmakers especially the Blacks, moving away from peaceful dissention has made this nation in the eyes of the world a blood sprinkled nation. If allowed this process to continue, spearheaded by the right-wing Republican Party operatives who serve the Wall Street ignoring the sentiments of the Main Street, can the United States lecture to the Global Community on issues such as human rights, peaceful agitation and tolerance of political dissention? Can the public diplomacy arm of the United States – U.S. State Department – continue to advocate racial harmony, the importance of political dissent and democratic governance to the Third World developing nations."

VOL. VI NO. 5, February 26-March 11, 2010 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media:

McHale’s Strategy Sparks Debate After Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale presented the Obama administration’s public diplomacy roadmap at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pundits are critical that her plan simply mirrors those of her predecessors.

New Media: A Force for Good or Evil? A Facebook user calling himself 'Allah,' posted a controversial page on the internet, sparking debate over freedom of speech and internet censorship. However, a recent series at the University of California at Berkley portrayed the positive impact that the internet has on Muslim communities worldwide.

New PD Posts Posit Progress The Department of State recently announced the creation of several new senior positions for its public diplomacy team in an attempt to improve America’s global engagement campaign. However, some believe that the lack of clear define security objectives remain a clear obstacle in doing so. Below image from

The Future of Public Diplomacy A new caucus on the Hill, headed by Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) aims at addressing America’s global engagement by suggesting a better communication between Pentagon and State Department in drafting strategic communication and public diplomacy strategies.

Obama’s Outreach to the Muslim World in Upheaval Critics in the Middle East are disillusioned with President Obama's agenda in the region, which they believe has yielded no results. Citing the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arabs and Muslims alike question the president's motives on the heels of Obama's visit to Jakarta.

Yemen Censures Two Major Pan-Arab Media Networks The Yemeni government suspended the operations of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya satellite news agencies. The suspension came at the heel of the agencies’ coverage of recent protests. The action has been viewed by many as repressive towards the press and has drawn condemnation from various sources in Yemen, the Arab world, and elsewhere.

To Build or Not to Build? The recent debacles over the approval of new settlements construction is bringing a cool off in US-Israeli relations as some ponder in America if the close relationship between both countries may actually be a danger to US strategic and national security interests.

This Week in Internet Censorship According to a study conducted by Reporters Without Borders, internet censorship is at an all-time high in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. The struggle against censorship is evident in Egypt, where the trials of bloggers Wael Abbas and Ahmed Mostafa have drawn international attention.

A New Dawn for Democracy in the Middle East Experts discuss the implications of the findings from the Asda'a Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, focusing on the future of democracy in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the 2010 Parliamentary Elections in Iraq sheds light on the harsh realities of democracy building in the region.

Middle East is Auspicious for Media Investments The Middle East has been identified as being among the fastest growing markets for the multi-billion audio visual and media industries despite the troubling economic environment last year. "

In Defense of Culture - Laura McGinnis, ManIC: "U.S. public diplomacy remains underfunded, particularly in comparison to the nation's military budget. And many foreign embassies, consulates and libraries are still difficult to access. Of course, security concerns prevent these locations from being fully accessible to all people at all times, but greater openness could improve the balance between security and effectiveness. Improving information flows, particularly those related to Internet freedom, is an issue of increasing importance to USPD, and one which has been frequently in the news this year. ...

Judith McHale's recently published PD strategy acknowledges the importance of personal connections, and recommends the following tactics for improving people-to-people relationships. ... But the framework, for all its strengths, doesn't emphasize the importance of collaborative partnership with other countries. ... [I]nteraction and dialogue, an essential element of PD ... is largely absent from McHale's framework." Image from

Metzgar’s work looks at public diplomacy’s influence - Jessica Haney, School of Journalism, Indiana University: "Studies show that Kenya has a more favorable view of the United States than even the United States does. Barack Obama’s presidency may have contributed to the elevated American image worldwide, but this may be a product of America’s strategic public diplomacy. Assistant professor Emily Metzgar presented her research on public diplomacy in the American context … . Public diplomacy is like traditional diplomacy in that it attempts to manage an international environment through engagement with a foreign nation, as Metzgar explained, but public diplomacy is not always official or governmental. Public diplomacy entails a two-way exchange of information and a mutual understanding between countries. … There is frustration with the government on its public diplomacy strategies because, as Metzgar said, there is a lack of data on the effectiveness of the international broadcasts. 'I suspect that the real numbers are disturbingly low,' said Metzgar."

Strategic communication: "public affairs on steroids" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

[I]f the BBG elements are subject to the synchronization, coordination, and prioritization stressed in the document [White House 1055], they would not be very good examples of a free and independent press. ... Audience research that focuses on U.S. strategic needs rather than on audience needs is not very strategic." Image from

BBC Hindi covers highway construction in India, but it's the end of the road for VOA Hindi - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Dramatic drop in access" to VOA in Ethiopia – Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO, delivers a personal message and discusses the strategy for 2009 in a brief video - "America needs travel now more than ever to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and further the vital public diplomacy interests of the United States, said Caroline Beteta, CEO of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, who will serve as National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association for 2009."

China's growing 'soft power' has been largely unnoticed - Xiaoxiong Yi, Marietta Times: "While recent attention in the West has focused on the rise of China's hard, economic, and military power, the rise of China's 'soft power,'

an important aspect of the increasingly sophisticated Chinese foreign policy, has gone largely unnoticed. China is using economic aid and cooperation, trade and financial incentives, cultural and educational exchanges, and other techniques - to appeal to its neighbors and court the world. ... Serious challenges from China are now reducing America's influence internationally. The United States has to wake up and focus on the task of rediscovering how to be a smart power again. An over-militarized foreign policy has undercut America's international influence. Today, military spending totals more than a half-trillion dollar annually, while the State Department's budget is less than $36 billion. Washington has to commit more money and energy to an important 'soft dimension' of smart power - American public diplomacy. But a public diplomacy by trained diplomat would only be a diplomacy on steroids. ... [W]e will need to find and fund more young people who are committed to traditional American ideals and willing to work with and for the interests of people around the world." Image from

Getting smart with public diplomacy - People’s Daily online: "In modern times, public diplomacy is becoming increasingly important. Governments of countries worldwide attach great importance to public diplomacy to promote their soft power and influence. The upcoming Shanghai World Expo, with exhibitions from 240 countries and regions, will be a platform for various countries to carry out public diplomacy and self-promotion. ... Implementing artful public diplomacy needs good understanding of reliability, the status and role of self criticism, as well as the role of 'civil society' in the process of implementing soft power. What we need to pay more attention is that public diplomacy which appears to be propaganda weakens soft power. And soft power should be built on the foundation of the understanding of other people's ideas, because the best public diplomacy should be always bidirectional."

China's Public Diplomacy: Have You Ever Tried to Call the Chinese Embassy? – John Brown, Huffington Post: "China, far more than most countries, is striving to represent itself overseas as a soft-power, user-friendly country 'into' PD. Scholars such as Joshua Kurlantzick have written authoritatively about such issues. But have you, ordinary citizen like myself, ever tried to touch base with the Communist Chinese Embassy in Washington? Its website is, to put it charitably, under construction. If you click on the all-important part of any website, 'contact us,' you get the following message: 'Sorry, the webpage you browsed has been deleted!.'

I did find a phone number on the site -- only one number, for a humongous, recently-built embassy. ... The number (if you're patient enough finally to discover it at the bottom of the embassy's website) is (202) 328-2500. I tried calling this number for some three hours, but it was constantly busy." Image from

Japan's 'ambassadors of cute' - Mark Ellwood - Financial Times: "One of the more colourful off-piste events at New York fashion week last month was Tokyo Fashion Festa, a celebration of Japanese design held at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The main event was a fashion show in which doll-like models showcasing 'Lolita fashion' – the frilly, eccentric, comic-book-character style beloved by young girls in Japan but rarely seen overseas – took to the catwalk. The entire event was hosted by a petite Japanese star, Misako Aoki, a nurse, part-time model, icon of the Lolita aesthetic and newly appointed government official. Her title? Ambassador of Cute. ...

Though the ambassador concept may seem as cute and gimmicky as the women appear, there’s a strategic savvy behind [their] appointment. 'The objective is to promote an understanding of Japan, a better image, or the correct image,' says Takeshi Akahori, director of the public diplomacy department at Tokyo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 'It’s to show we’re a pretty liberal society where people can express themselves, and that’s not the cliché idea of Japan. Japan is a free society, where people can choose what they like. Our figures show that between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of new Japanese language learning is based on a liking for Japanese pop culture.' Put another way, the girls are an embodiment of 'smart power', the diplomatic tactic often mentioned by Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, as an alternative to the hard power of military brawn. As if a cross between Paris Hilton and Pamela Harriman, Aoki and her colleagues have country-hopped on a mission to promote Japanese pop culture, specifically kawaii, a slippery term, that 'is close to the notion of ‘cute’ in English.'" Image from

Diplomacy in ruins: Australia's ability to have its voice heard overseas has been dangerously compromised - Alex Oliver, Andrew Shearer - The Australian: "Just over a year ago the Lowy Institute released a report by a panel of experts calling for increased investment in diplomacy to resuscitate Australia's ailing diplomatic infrastructure. As the panel pointed out, Australia has the fifth lowest number of embassies and missions of all 30 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. ... The panel advocated investing in language skills (particularly vital East Asian languages), better resourcing, a more strategic, less piecemeal approach to public diplomacy and a more co-ordinated approach to policy across the many government departments and agencies that operate in the international arena."

Rejuvenating the diplomats - Hamish Mcdonald, Sydney Morning Herald:

"The rising powers all have different kinds of power, China in manufacturing, India in intellectual services, Russia in energy resources, Europe in 'soft' power. Middle powers like Canada and Australia have less relative clout, so must use their 'brand' more effectively, as Canada did in achieving agreements on the International Criminal Court, landmines, blood diamonds and child soldiers. The method is what Copeland [Canadian scholar of diplomacy Daryl] Copeland calls 'guerilla diplomacy' (the title of his new book) or extending what is often called 'public diplomacy' to achieve a favourable turn in public opinion in foreign countries." Image from

Palestinian, Israeli journalists meet in Tel Aviv - Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post: "A delegation of Palestinian journalists from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank toured Tel Aviv on Thursday, as part of an initiative to build bridges between the Arab media and their peers in Israel. ... The trip was arranged by the non-profit Israel advocacy group 'The Israel Project,' whose Web site describes the group as 'an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace.' Shimrit Meir, senior advisor for the Israel Project’s Arab Media Program, said ... she was very pleased with how the outing turned out. 'It was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want them to come for some hard-core hasbara [public diplomacy] meeting, with briefings from Israeli officials. We wanted them to be able to meet Avichai as well as Israeli journalists. Also, we wanted them to have the opportunity to come to Israel, get out of Gaza and see the other side in a quiet, peaceful way.'”

Understand Hebrew : *Hasbara*: Soft power, Pro-Israel Propaganda, explanation... - alquds43, Media Lens Message Board: "Hasbara, also spelt hasbarah, is a noun that literally means 'explanation'. The term has been used by the State of Israel and by supporters of Israel to describe their efforts to explain Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large.

Meaning of the term [:] While hasbara literally means 'explanation', its exact import in its current usage is debated. Gideon Meir has said that there is no 'real, precise' translation of the word hasbara to English or any other language, and has characterized it as public diplomacy, an action undertaken by all governments around the world with the growing importance of what Harvard professor Joseph Nye termed soft power. Gary Rosenblatt describes it as 'advocacy'. Nathan Guttman has characterized hasbara as 'pro-Israel propaganda,' while Avi Hyman has said 'while propaganda strives to highlight the positive aspects of one side of a conflict, hasbara seeks to explain actions, whether or not they are justified.'" Image from

RE: Atta Mills: What Are Re-branding? - Mathias Alagbo, Ghana News: "Kindly permit me a space to react to the article titled- Atta Mills: What are Re-Branding? As published on your website on Tuesday, 16 March 2010. In the said article, the author Mr. Prah, instead of displaying candor and intelligence in his writing to promote a proper hallenging discourse, sounded more like a mischievous politician whose only interest is to paint black and create panic, confusion, lack of trust and render as in his words, disastrous and chaotic, The ‘Brand Ghana Office’ project instituted by His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills. .... Country branding is not in any way a positive spin or propaganda as he [Prah] tried to paint it but rather involves the act of harmonizing all channels of national expression as varied as acts and policies of government, values and behaviours of the Citizenry, education, culture, sports, public health, taxation, public diplomacy, build and feel of settlements, promotion of export and investment and infrastructure development."

Obama Announces 15 Recess Appointments - Jay Newton-Small, Time: ‎"President Barack Obama today announced his intention to make 15 recess appointments, signaling his frustration with the Senate's foot dragging. ... [Among them is] Eric L. Hirschhorn:

Nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce Eric Hirschhorn, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn LLP, long has been active in the areas of international law, litigation, and professional responsibility. ... [W]hile a member of President Jimmy Carter's reorganization project staff (1977-80), he worked on reorganizing the government's international trade, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance mechanisms." Hirshchorn Image from

B, E, G, C, A, D, F - The New Diplomacy 2010: A reflective group blog by some of the students on the New Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: [Students' entries pertaining to Public Diplomacy]


Preservation by Design: Safeguarding the World's Cultural Heritage Opens at Meridian International Center March 20, 2010 - May 16, 2010 - press release, PR Newswire: "Meridian International Center and California-based Global Heritage Fund announce the opening of an international photographic exhibition, Preservation by Design: Safeguarding the World's Cultural Heritage on Saturday, March 20, 2010. The 77 images, which have never been seen by the general public, contain works by talented local photographers living in or near archaeological and cultural sites in China, Colombia, India, Peru, and Turkey. Photographs from Cambodia and Libya, drawn from the Global Heritage Fund archives, were taken by GHF field staff intimately familiar with these locales and the difficulties the sites face. ... Meridian International Center has built global partnerships through leadership exchanges and international collaboration for 50 years. Its Art for Cultural Diplomacy program organizes high-quality exhibitions as educational tools to share aspects of other cultures with audiences in the United States and elements of American culture with people abroad."

This Isn't Your Parents' Cultural Diplomacy - Tala Mohebi, Huffington Post:

"The value of a cultural diplomacy program can only be gauged by its ability to engage with foreign audiences and adapt to their means of communicating in meaningful ways. Nigeria and Japan, as two of countless countries that can be selected for their innovative programs, have proven yet again that the role of culture in public dialogue cannot be overvalued." Image from

Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch Up with China? - Merinews: "The book 'Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch Up with China?' seeks to compare the economic diverse systems of India and China. The main aim of this comparative analysis is to chalk out lessons from Chinese story for India. ... It is not a new thing to study India and China, but where this work stands distinct is how authors study the intricacies of working of different economic models and where does the performance in each sector place the two nations. ... However, any good analysis can’t escape the changing dynamics of the world. Aspects of green agenda, pandemics, ethical work practises, gender equity, and soft power like cultural diplomacy rarely find space in the revised edition."

Shanghai Expo Promotional Campaign held in MOA - Philippine Star: "A two-day promotional campaign to introduce the World Expo 2010 to be held in Shanghai to people of the Philippines was held at the Mall of Asia in Manila of the Philippines on Saturday, attracting 1,000 people. The event, 'World Expo Tourism Promotional Campaign in 100 cities of the World', was jointly organized by the Cultural Office of Chinese Embassy in Philippines,

the China National Tourist Office in Singapore for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and Federation of Philipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce. ... In his speech, [Philippine Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary] Franklin Ebdalin said, events such as these are essential in cultural diplomacy, which serves to foster political and economic diplomacy." Image from

Feasting on Asean's best - Sherma E. Benosa, Manila Times: "The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Festival of Arts (AFA) was like a great feast of Asean culture and soul that promised—and delivered—a spectacular show. Attending it felt like going to a feast expecting to partake of a rich and delicious fare and going home completely stuffed, perfectly satisfied, and thoroughly impressed with the bountiful offerings. Not only did the festival showcase outstanding performances from select performers from each of the 10 member-countries of the Asean, it also underscored the rich, diverse, and pulsating cultures in the region via songs produced using indigenous musical instruments, and plays and dances that were reflective of the participating countries’ cultures. … Commenting on the AFA, Cecile Guidote Alvarez, executive director of the NCCA [The Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts], said that the festival showcased 'a rich panorama of Asean culture where we can dynamically apply as a force for education, an engine for economic growth, an asset of our national pride, and a vehicle for cultural diplomacy for partnership and peace.'”

Issue 20: Bazaar now available - E-Flux: "The Bidoun Bazaar begins with the cover: a Swarovski crystal-studded portrait by Farhad Moshiri, the Andy Warhol of the Arab of world, who is profiled by editor Negar Azimi inside. ... In 'Arabia on the Turkey,' Adam John Waterman tells the tale of Elkader, Iowa, a small farm town named for an early nineteenth-century Algerian revolutionary — and a pawn in the great game of cultural diplomacy even today."

Dr Shireen Hunter -

"Examples of [Dr. Hunter's] Lecturing and Presentations: ... Speaking for USIA and Public Diplomacy (State Department), in Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Kuwait, Poland, Spain." Hunter image from


Diplomacy 2.0 - Kenneth Weisbrode, Those who assume that the obsolescent diplomacy of the twentieth century – as it is described by today’s global network enthusiasts – was conducted entirely behind closed doors by elites have got their history wrong. We need only read the contemporary press accounts of any major international conference during this period to realize how important various pressure groups – not only the press, but also “peace activists,” bankers, industrialists, labor unions, religious organizations, and countless others – were in nearly all of these instances. Indeed, diplomats have long been some of the most proficient social networkers and connectors. And they have long confronted multiple agendas and constituencies, from those clamoring to influence the League of Nations’ disarmament conferences of the 1930’s to those wielding the megaphones in Copenhagen in December. The challenge today is to channel such passions into results.

Ambassadorships for sale - Carol Felsenthal, The Hill:

Obama is no worse than his predecessors [in selecting political appointees as ambassadors] — the tradition dates back to Andrew Jackson — but Obama promised he’d aim for more professional and fewer political appointees. Instead his numbers line up with his George W. Bush’s — approximately 70 percent professionally trained diplomats and 30 percent political appointees. ... The U.S. is the only major power that chooses its ambassador this way, and sometimes the practice rattles old friends. Via LB. Image from

Osama tape has intelligence officials fuming Jeff Stein, SpyTalk, Washington Post: U.S. counterterrorism officials seemed to have a hard time making up their minds on how to respond to Osama bin Laden’s latest tape. Terrorism experts said on the record that bin Laden’s message was less a real threat that an exercise in personal and political propaganda.

Why control of the web could mean control of you - Asavin Wattanajantra, Inquirer: Governments have always tried to control their citizens. It's a simple truth that those in authority want to have control of the people’s hearts, minds and allegiances. In propaganda those in power have had a tool with which they could shape what people think and feel. From Nazi imagery and film used in 1930s and 40s Germany to modern day spin we see so often in the newspapers, it's everywhere. But the advent of the web has changed everything. In terms of propaganda it has broken the ability of governments around the world to conduct massive large-scale propaganda campaigns which could control swaths of people. "The web is the ultimate propaganda machine, but not for governments," said Professor Phil Taylor,

of the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds. "Governments don't use the web very well." China's fight with Google over the censorship of search results shows that it is completely aware of the power of free information. But the argument centres around the fact that the Chinese state has a completely different ideology than what we feel is normal in the West. "The Chinese state basically thinks that the collective is more important than the individual," said Professor Taylor. "Where as here in the west we have become so individualistic in our approach. For example in the US they hate government with a vengeance in a way which we are getting to." Taylor image from

Brin Drove Google to Pull Back in China - Jessica E. Vascellaro, Wall Street Journal: Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin pushed the Internet giant to take the risky step of abandoning its China-based search engine as that country's efforts to censor the Web and suppress dissidents smacked of the "totalitarianism" of his youth in the Soviet Union.

US corporations not lining up behind Google in its confrontation with China – Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Was leaflets, is now DVDs, sent into North Korea via balloons - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Restricted, but Not Deterred - Dennis Lim, New York Times: Besides being a dictator, a political thorn for the West and a Dr. Evil-like figure of pop culture ridicule, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

is also a film buff. Other dictators have taken an interest in cinema as a propaganda tool — Stalin exploited Sergei Eisenstein and Hitler hired Leni Riefenstahl — but Mr. Kim has gone further. The Dear Leader, as he is called, is the author of the textbook cum manifesto “On the Art of the Cinema.” He has been known to function as a hands-on mogul in the state-run film industry, rewriting scripts and nurturing pet projects. In 1978 — while running the propaganda department under his father, Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding president — he even arranged the kidnapping of Shin Sang-ok, a South Korean director, whom he tasked with improving the quality of North Korean movies. But while Mr. Kim’s cinephilic ardor is well established, the cinema of and about North Korea remains as murky as one would expect of a nation routinely described as a hermit kingdom and an information black hole. ... Three new films, however, show in very different ways that it is possible to bypass or subvert official channels when dealing with North Korea. Image from

The 17 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Propaganda Posters - Jacopo della Quercia,

WWII era Anti-VD Propaganda - Gloria Brame Ph.D., Bilerico Project

The Art of Propaganda: The Godzilla Factor – divide, Alternet: "The Propagandist uses primeval tactics to reach the audience on a level that operates outside of objective and rational argument. The Propagandist uses images, ideas that awaken the deep primal fears every human being has locked away in our minds sequestered only by reason. ... GODZILLA

is my favorite monster my favorite propaganda image, idea. You may have never thought about Godzilla as a propaganda metaphor; but he is. Created by the Japanese as an anti nuclear symbol Godzilla is a monster born of the unintended consequence of scientific invention." Image from


"Is it so hard to remember what happens when liberal democracies accept the unacceptable? Is it too much to hope that, for the government of the United States in 2010, accepting the unacceptable should be unacceptable?"

--Pundit Bill Kristol

"For some goddamn reasons Republicans can't write."

--Henry Luce, quoted in Arthur Schlesinger, JR., A Life in the Twentieth Century, p. 394.