Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11

"22% of Americans have a passport."

--Benedict T. Casnocha, Entrepreneur & Author; see also

"I would also like to note that even though 'only' 68 million Americans have passports, the United States issues more passports than any other nation and, in fact, processes more passport applications than numbers 2 (the United Kingdom) and 3 (Germany) combined."

--Congressional Testimony of Frank E. Moss, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, April 27, 2006; image from


Fantasy Diplomacy: How Hillary Clinton wishes the Wiki-Leaked cables had read - Yoni Brenner, New Yorker. Via GG on Facebook


US speaks in two voices on envoy frisking issue - Paarull, CNN-IBN: "Indian Ambassador to the USA, Meera Shankar's pat down is now a political and a diplomatic issue. The Opposition is upset about the Meera's humiliation even though the US has expressed regret and concern. The US has even promised a re-look at airport screening procedures, to prevent a repeat.

'We will be looking into it and trying to determine both what happened and what we could do to prevent such incidents in the future,' said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But Hillary's counterpart in the Department of Homeland Security says the pat down was appropriate and that procedure had not been violated [see below]. ... Washington's responses haven't satisfied New Delhi. A day after External Affairs Minister SM Krishna warned the pat down could affect diplomatic relations; Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said it was bad diplomacy. 'It wasn't good public diplomacy on the part of the US. We will take up matter with US Embassy,' said Nirupama Rao. Surprisingly, despite the urgent ministerial intervention, the Indian Embassy in Washington has not yet sent a report on the incident. Neither did the ambassador feel it necessary to inform headquarters about the incident that took place six days ago. Meanwhile, the Opposition has got a ready made issue with the BJP demonstrating near the US Embassy and the Left calling for reciprocal frisking of the American envoy to India." See also (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11). Image from

TSA Defends Screening of Indian Ambassador - "The Transportation Security Administration is defending airport screeners' decision to pat down an Indian diplomat, an incident that has provoked public outcry in India. Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the United States, was singled out for secondary security screening on Sunday at Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi. The pat-down, which some say may have been prompted because the ambassador was wearing a sari,

provoked condemnation from India's government. ... The TSA, however, said that after looking into what took place, it found that no policies were violated. 'After a review of this passenger's screening experience, we determined that the TSA officers in Jackson followed proper standard procedure,' agency spokesman Nicholas Kimball said in a statement to AOL News. Kimball also pointed out that the State Department in 2007 published a special notice from TSA on special security screening procedures for diplomats. The notice says that if diplomats are selected for secondary screening, they should present their credentials and they will be subject to 'special procedures.' The notice doesn't specify what those procedures are, however." Image with caption from article: Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the United States, was singled out for secondary security screening by the TSA at Jackson-Evers International Airport in Miss. on Sunday. Via MP on Facebook

Nirupama stresses increasing importance of Public diplomacy in international relations - "Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said here on Friday that public diplomacy is the vehicle for dissemination of the ideas, interests, concepts, and the approaches that define our foreign policy. ... She further said that the face of Indian diplomacy is acquiring a new expression today with our growing capability to partner a number of countries in our neighbourhood, in Africa, in South-east Asia, and the Caribbean in socio-economic development. ... Nirupama Rao said that it was vital that India started building credible and engaging narratives about the positive work done by the country." Full text of address at. See also (1) (2). Rao image from

Tweet tips for old office - "Twitter might have contributed to Shashi Tharoor’s exit from the government, but he lectured his former ministry today on the merits of social networking tools. The occasion was a seminar on public diplomacy organised by the external affairs ministry, which invited the MP from Thiruvananthapuram to open it.

'In my brief stint as minister, I used to argue that foreign policy is too important to be left to the ministry alone,' he said, criticising the government for what he described as apathy to public diplomacy. Tharoor cited the examples of the US, Canada and the UK whose foreign ministries are exploiting social networking tools like Web 2.0 to get their message across. They also encouraged their diplomats to blog, he added, sounding like he was still smarting from his ouster as junior minister in April." Full text of speech at. See also; Tharoor image from article

Wikileaks, The US & Public Diplomacy - - "Damaging as many of these cables are for US interests, the[ir] release does at least serve to confirm that America’s view of the world is widely shared. ... The latest release of documents has been more measured and has mitigated some of the potential damage. But Wikileaks continues to show disregard for the discretions of diplomacy. These matter, for the most important revelation in the classified cables is that America manages its power, unlike its databases, in a responsible manner."

The (Charity) Work of Diplomats - Benedict T. Casnocha, Rather than add to heap of analyses on Wikileaks, the soul of Julian Assange, privacy vs. transparency, and all the specific policy questions that have arisen -- others are more qualified to comment there -- I wish to react to these two sentences by Will Wilkinson: [']The careerists scattered about the world in America's intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well.['] ... I have enjoyed an up-close look at American public diplomacy in four countries. Partly this came from residing in another country for a period of time; partly this has come from working with a few embassies on some of their local economic development initiatives.

Based on my (limited) experience, the stories we're reading about are the most salacious bits of a very large cache of documents (which itself is only a portion of the total communications of diplomats). The overwhelming majority of American diplomats' work around the world has little to do with advancing American self-interest and could better be described as charity work. Yes, charity work. Almost entirely, diplomats engage in projects that aim to improve and enrich the local communities in which they work. They work towards democracy and economic advancement in the most general, agreeable ways. Despite being paid by the U.S. government (U.S. taxpayers), most of their work advances American self-interest only in the 'peace and prosperity is better for everybody' kind of way." Image from blog with caption: (Me with two American diplomats and leaders of an Islamic boarding school in Indonesia; August, 2010)

Leaks make US PR task even harder - Andrew Hammond, Business Day: "[K]ey dangers from the WikiLeaks episode for Washington are a potential backlash from some international publics, and also foreign elites proving more cautious in sharing information and co-operating in the future. Taken overall, the WikiLeaks affair intensifies the already massive global public diplomacy and alliance- building challenge US President Barack Obama inherited from the Bush administration. While the Obama team has begun to make strides in the right direction, including on the strategic communications dimensions of the campaign against terrorism, its focus continues to be distracted by political headaches

such as this latest one. Looking specifically at the campaign against terrorism, the scale of the public diplomacy task Obama still faces is regularly highlighted in opinion polls. For instance, the 2010 Pew Global Attitudes Survey revealed that in Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey, just 17% of people have favourable perceptions of the US. In the space of just 12 months, US favourability in Egypt has dropped to 17% from 27%. It is important that the Obama team turns this climate of perception about the country around. This is because, in common with the Cold War, the challenges posed by the campaign against terror cannot be overcome by military might alone. In addition, the US must redouble its efforts to win the battle for 'hearts and minds', especially in the Muslim world. This will help create an enabling environment facilitating covert and overt co-operation and information sharing with US officials." Image from

Diplomacy and risk society - ‎Hichem Karoui, Gulf Today: "The tempest aroused by WikiLeaks would probably change the perception people have of the diplomatic service. We know there has always been a suspicion toward other services that compete with the Department of State, like the CIA and some of the Pentagon’s branches. And though this competition has sometimes reasoned abroad adding complexity to some already very much complicated issues, which has not always spared the White House from criticism, US diplomacy run by the Department of State was enjoying more confidence than any other foreign affairs agencies. Today, this state of affairs is perhaps over and part of the past. ... Indeed, when as a high ranked official you speak confidentially

to a US official and you discover a few months later your words splashed all over the newspapers and Internet and TV, how are you supposed to feel? Some words are just murderous. Some can even trigger a war. So, where diplomacy a long time synonymous of discretion has gone? Not to mention US public diplomacy, becoming suspected about its initiators and their objectives. The basics of the diplomatic service are questioned." Image from

Wikileaks : La stratégie de pénétration des Etats-Unis dans les media Français - "Dans un télégramme consacré à la 'danse du ventre' de la diplomatie Etasunienne devant les minorités Françaises et plus particulièrement devant la communauté musulmane Française, j'ai relevé quelques éléments sur la stratégie de pénétration de la diplomatie Etasunienne des media Français. ... [cited from telegram in article:] ¶28. While much of the existing effort already ties into our current Embassy public diplomacy strategy, increased funding for exchanges, speakers and grants would be most welcome. So would more help from Washington with recruiting minority speakers (Francophones) and further access to short-term exchanges, such as ECA's summer institutes, to target minority educators."

US embassy cables: Diplomat reveals Vatican's 'unhelpful' role in Middle East peace process - "Tuesday, 03 July 2001, 12:03 C O N F I D E N T I A L ... EMBASSY VATICAN MESSAGE NO. 107/01 ... SUBJECT: THE VATICAN-- THE SUPRANATIONAL POWER: ... DEATH PENALTY - THE VATICAN


re: Diplomacy: Missionary Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy and Wikileaks (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, US; ex-Iran) - "Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich writes: John Eipper’s definition of a 'winner' is curious (see John Kofas’s post of 8 December): 'Iran seems to come out as a winner from last week’s Wikileaks, as it can now ‘prove’ that it is surrounded by hostile neighbors.' In that Iran is surrounded by neighboring hostile rulers who are nothing but puppet dictators is nothing new. However, many experts are of the opinion (as reflected in their opinion pieces) that Wikileaks, as reported by the mainstream media, seems to further the neoconservatives agenda and the push for further action, including military, against Iran. What is more interesting to me is the fact that Israel came out of all this unscathed. Veterans Today sheds some light as to why this may be. Plausible or not, it is up to the individual to judge."

President Obama's deficit reduction commission recommended 10% budget cut for US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

"US international broadcasting does not directly attempt to promote democracy, but provides its audiences with reliable news where such a news service is not available from the domestic media. The languages of USIB have been pared down to those of target countries where there is a need for credible news. As I explained in my New York Times op-ed, 13 July 2010, and in Foreign Service Journal, October 2010, by eliminating duplication and organizational inefficiency, US international broadcasting could continue to transmits in all of its languages, with no diminution -- indeed, probably with an enhancement -- of its news service. (The Fiscal Commission could not garner the 14 votes of its members necessary for immediate Congressional action.)" Image from

Dayton Art in Cameroon - University of Dayton: "The United States State Department selected 'Byzantine,' a 31-foot wall mural, for inclusion in the ART in Embassies program, which exhibits original works of art by U.S. citizens in the public rooms of approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide.

The painting is the product of the 2009 Blue Sky program at the University of Dayton, an eight-week residency program that hosted five professional artists from around the world committed to work with teams of local teens to create contemporary works of art. Seven teen participants collaborated with Baltimore artist Katherine Mann to create 'Byzantine.' ... The U.S. State Department established the ART In Embassies Program in 1964 and features art loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists and corporate and private collections. The department says the art plays an important role in the nation's public diplomacy, providing international audiences with a sense of the quality, scope and diversity of American art and culture." Image from article with caption: Byzantine, created at the University of Dayton in 2009 by local teens and a Baltimore artist, will hang in the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Cameroon.

ASU's Week in Pictures - asu news [university]: "Swiss Ambassador Johanes Matyassy visits with an ASU student

during his visit to ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Matyassy spoke about his country's experiences and lessons learned for public diplomacy, concerning Switzerland's proactive communication strategy during the run up to a public referendum banning minarets." Image from article

Tantrum Time - Paper tigers and the empty chair in Oslo - Swapan Dasgupta, "China’s importance in the world far exceeds the commercial clout of Libya over a cash-strapped UK. At one level, China has assiduously nurtured and cultivated many regimes that crave respectability and are only too willing to shower those who oblige with generous economic concessions. At another, it has presented a picture of sweet reasonableness and untiring enterprise, and awed the world by its dramatic rise as the second-largest economy, after the US. Complementing both approaches is an imaginative and generously-funded public diplomacy that has been described as a 'seamless extension of China’s global ambitions for resources and influence'. China’s 'smart power' diplomacy, marked by purposeful generosity in the promotion of its own national interests and simultaneously respectful of the national sovereignty of others, has made steady progress and kept pace with the country’s economic rise and rise. ... What is intriguing is China’s determination to make attendance in Friday’s Nobel awards ceremony in Oslo a test of the ‘with us or against us’ question."

Nobel Symbols: China's Power and Weakness - Mark Lagon, Council on Foreign Relations: "A successful long-term strategy to encourage the Chinese people's own efforts--like Charter 08--and propel the Chinese state to change and act like a stakeholder in international rule of law requires not just private diplomacy. It requires consistent public diplomacy."

chat with shen hongm ei 1 - fightingpen [Google translation]:
"Daphne Mei says
。 . 。 . 的确觉得很幼稚 Do feel very naive
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
西方人是双重标准习惯了, Westerners are used to double standards,
Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
public diplomacy完全幼稚园水瓶 public diplomacy water bottle full of kindergarten
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
对他们直接就是指出其虚伪,漠视中国多年来解除贫困,援助非洲的努力国内现在似乎开始重视国际公共和公共外交,我上次开会,一下子见到很多这方面的心杂志 Is that they direct their hypocrisy, ignoring China's poverty alleviation over the years, the efforts of Africa country now seems to attach importance to international public and public diplomacy, I am the last meeting, all of a sudden see a lot of heart this journal
Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
是啊但是政府的做法还是远远落后 Yes ah, but still far behind the Government's approach
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
tg要砸钱搞这个,不过几十年人文教育的失败不是用钱能弥补的 tg to be throwing money out of this, but the failure of decades of humanistic education is not money can make up

Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
比起美国的老练差远了 Sophisticated than the United States, a far cry
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
关于这个,你写过什么吗我拜读一下 On this, you read what I wrote anything
Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
呵呵我不研究public diplomacy Oh I do not study public diplomacy
只是读一些 Just read
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
这个是个新领域 This is a new field
Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
我研究relationship management 没那么宏观 I have studied the relationship management is not so macro
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
你们公关的东西很多可以用到上面吧 A lot of things you can use public relations above the bar
Daphne Mei says Daphne Mei says
但是现在搞public diplomacy的,没什么理论。 But now engage in public diplomacy, and no theory. 发文章很好发我一个朋友研究这个他直接就说研究这个就是因为发文章好发 Send me the article made a very good friend of this that he can say of this is because the article made good hair
Shaojin Chai says Shaojin Chai says
是的,希望有人把这个领域的水平提一下 Yes, I hope some people mention the level of the field." Image from

Why Not Feed Indonesia to the World? - Paul Rockower, "One of the more delicious forms of public diplomacy has recently emerged in the global consciousness: gastrodiplomacy. Public diplomacy is a field predicated on the communication of culture and values to foreign publics whereas gastrodiplomacy, most plainly put, is the act of winning hearts and minds through mouths and stomachs.

Gastrodiplomacy uses culinary delights to appeal to the global public’s appetite and thus helps raise a nation’s brand recognition. ... In many ways, Indonesia is the perfect country to engage in gastrodiplomacy. It was Indonesia’s spice island bounty that helped initiate the European age of discovery and brought hungry colonials to Indonesia’s shores. In more recent years, Indonesia started its own gastrodiplomacy campaign in the United States, with the Indonesian Embassy initiating a Restaurant Task Force in 2008 to help promote Indonesian restaurants and raise the awareness of its rich culinary bounty. Moreover, the success of the book and movie 'Eat Pray Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert helped highlight Indonesia’s culinary treasures. As such, now is the perfect time for Indonesia to initiate a robust gastrodiplomacy campaign." Image from article: An array of freshly made sambal at the Warung Sembilan Cobek

McProsperity; Lucha Libre Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Turns out the Embassy of Mexico in Malaysia helped sponsor a photo exhibit on Lucha Libre in Mexico. The exhibition, Kehebatan Gusti Gaya Bebus/ Espectacular de Lucha Libre featured a gallery of large photos chronicling the sport in Mexico and its role in Mexican life. It was a good spread, featuring some masked lucha libre fighters in suits, in priest frocks giving communion and families watching lucha libre.

There was even a pic of a masked female lucha libre wrestler giving her baby a bottle. The photos were by Lourdes Grobot. The exhibition was kicked off with an event that featured the Mexican Ambassador, and sponsors included the Mexican Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tourism Ministry and Mexico City municipality. Great Mexican cultural diplomacy. Pero, mira...while it is smart cultural diplomacy, as I walked to the museum I saw groups of guys sitting on the pavement watching WWE wrestling on tvs at an electronic store. An even better bit of Mexican public diplomacy is to bring lucha libre matches to Malaysia. Rather than go for the more high-brow art crowd, bring lucha libre to the people. In fact, that could be the best Mexican public diplomacy ever. Traveling lucha libre matches to visit the wide world of wrestling fans." Image from


Al Qaeda 'is recruiting members and spreading propaganda on Facebook' - Facebook users are helping terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, according to the U.S. government. Terror bosses are said to rely on the social network to swap information, recruit new members and spread radical propaganda

Tirades Against Nobel Aim at Audience in China - Andrew Jacobs, New York Times: To those outside China, the government’s response to the Norwegian committee’s decision to give Mr. Liu the Nobel Peace Prize was remarkable for its bombast and audacity. But while such outbursts may have provoked snickers around the world, the stern-faced men who run China’s government may have the last laugh. Minxin Pei, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California, said those who focus solely on the damage done to Beijing’s global image are missing the point. In the end, he said, the only opinions that matter are those held by China’s 1.3 billion citizens.

In every article about him, Mr. Liu was described as a criminal who had been tried and convicted by the nation’s justice system. At the same time, the censors assiduously removed information about Mr. Liu not approved by the propaganda ministry, including any mention at all of Charter 08, the pro-democracy manifesto that he helped shape and that led to his conviction. Image from

Vietnam-China Friendship Festival 2010 launched in Hanoi - The Vietnam-China Friendship Festival 2010 was held in Hanoi on December 11 by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Vietnam-China Friendship Association.

The festival presented an overview of friendship activities launched by the two countries during the Vietnam-China Friendship Year 2010 as well as the initiatives for the propaganda and education on the traditional friendship between the two countries. Image from article

Wikileaks Used For Propaganda Purposes - Martin Bruno, "Pakistani newspapers claim that the neighboring country and archenemy India supports insurgents in the country, refering to documents on Wikileaks.

The documents they refer to, however, simply do not exist. It is the first known case of Wikileaks documents being used for propaganda purposes." See also. Image from article: Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

Austria’s East-Europe Orientation Misperceived, Nowotny Says - Jonathan Tirone and Boris Groendahl, Bloomberg: Markets misperceive Austria’s reliance on growth in eastern Europe, which is actually less important to the country’s economy than the western part of the continent, said central bank Governor Ewald Nowotny. “As a result of our own propaganda, we are seen as an eastern European country,” he said at a press briefing in Vienna today. “That’s not correct, and I have to clearly say that we have a strong orientation toward the West.”


NC teen stowaway breaches US airport security, hides in plane wheel well, dies, falls in Boston - Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing:

The mangled body of a 16-year-old boy from North Carolina mysteriously dropped from the sky down to a Boston suburb last month. Authorities now believe the teen breached airport security, and managed to hide himself inside the wheel well of a US Airways Boeing 737. He is believed to have then fallen to his death as the plane lowered its landing gear on approach to Boston's Logan Airport.

The corpse of Delvonte Tisdale, 16, was found in a quiet neighborhood in Milton, Mass., Nov. 15, below a flight path to Logan.

"It appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet airliner without being detected by airport security," Norfolk County District Attorney William R. Keating said at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Mr. Keating said he alerted federal authorities and the Charlotte Airport that the teenager was able to breach airport security and get onto the plane. While the case is a tragedy, Mr. Keating said, it also underscores fears that someone with malicious intention could do the same thing.

At the risk of pointing out what is very much apparent: all the TSA's invasive body-scanning and crotch-groping failed to prevent this. What if this kid was a suicide bomber stowaway, strapped with explosives? How did this happen? Tisdale image from article

1 comment:

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