Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13

"There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read. "

--G.K. Chesterton; image: Arcimboldo's Librarian from


US Reactions to Wikileaks: A Terrorist For Opposing American Imperial Power? - Jeetblog, USBlog: "An American who criticises his country, like Bradley Manning, is smeared as 'un-American'. Such an approach to criticism unites a broad range of Americans – liberals to conservatives to neo-conservatives, state agencies and private philanthropic foundations: it is a core element of an informal but powerful operational code that brooks little opposition and declares any criticism of the imperial hegemon as an attack on God himself or, in Clinton’s secular term, 'the international community'. ... At a conference on anti-Americanism a couple of years ago, it was said by one delegate that we should 'take America out of anti-Americanism'. That is, expressions of opposition to US policies abroad revealed more about the speaker than they did about the USA. It revealed the speaker’s own psychological inadequacies, political motives, irrationalities. It echoed George W. Bush’s comment that anyone who attacks America does it because they 'resent our values and envy our success'. It’s not America, it’s YOU. Yet, American administrations must take heed of 'anti-Americanism': the issue occupies a myriad of Washington, DC, think tanks and public diplomacy experts, in and out of government.

It vexes the American public – 'why do they hate us?' – and it gives the opposition party a stick with which to beat the administration. And in some of the weighty reports produced by blue-ribbon commissions headed by state intellectuals, there is a flicker of recognition, some credibility afforded to the notion that opposition to the US in the Middle East and elsewhere might actually be rooted in American behaviour – the deployment of lethal military force over time, costing millions of lives - over large parts of the Third World, a failure to match deeds with lofty ideals. After all, the reports note, such large majorities like American films and culture and even wish to settle in the US – so they’re not actually anti-American. They say that they don’t like our policies, such as unequivocal support for Israel." Image: Anti-American protests in Beijing, China (1999) over the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade from

WikiLeaks - Brian F, Musings of a (Fairly) Young Contrarian: "For all the hysterical libel/slander, one fact remains indisputable: WL has not killed a single human being. It's merely revealed the killings of human beings by others. Opponents are trying to have it both ways. They say the leaks are pointless because so much is frivolous. Then they claim that the leaks are reckless and putting people's lives at risk. Which is it: frivolous or life-threatening? They are also trying to spin it by saying that the cables reveal that a) America's private diplomacy is remarkably consistent with its public diplomacy and that b) diplomats are doing a great job in a very complicated world. Neat trick. I haven't looked extensively but the few cables I've looked at have actually redacted the names of 'innocent bystanders.' Though I suppose this means anyone named XXXXXXX has reason to fear for their life. ... Despite all the sanctimonious official outrage at WL, what do I hear on the Voice of America's African news program a few days ago? A piece about a WikiLeak cable concerning the political situation in Kenya, another on a cable about Nigeria and a third about cables concerning African leaders. This includes the a bit about how angry the US government is that these cables have been published. That's the same VOA is run and funded by... the US government."

Wikileaks Chile - Greg Weeks, Weeks Notice: A Latin American Politics Blog: "With virtually all of the cables on Latin America, we learn relatively little but get a fairly discouraging confirmation of what we already know. In this 2007 cable from then Ambassador Craig Kelly in Santiago (the specific Chile connection was his suggestion to push Chile into being the anti-Chávez model for the region), he argues that the U.S. can work to isolate Hugo Chávez by emphasizing the great things the U.S. does, having U.S. officials meet with marginalized groups, and advocating for free trade. There's nothing shady or nefarious; instead, the overall effect is one of cluelessness. The specific recommendations: [']A more muscular USG presence in the region that builds on high-level visits,

underscores the strengths of viable, successful alternatives (i.e., Brazil and Chile) to Chavez's brand of socialism, targets enhanced resources to regions and populations beyond the elites, and which uses public diplomacy to make our message loud and clear - democracy, freer trade and investment, work and that along with that come active and effective programs to address social ills and the needs of the region's youthful population.['] ... This is the type of argument that the Bush administration made many times--we just need to improve our message and let markets work, then people will automatically like us." Image from

Wie sich MCR den Amis aufdrängte - "DEC 08 FM AMEMBASSY BERN TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5485 INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE TAGS: PREL, ECON, ETRD, PHUM, EFIN, SZ SUBJECT: BILATERAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH SWITZERLAND AND THE ... the principality of liechtenstein ... (U) The World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, is unlike any other event of its kind. Over a five-day span at the end of January each year, 2,000 world leaders, Fortune 500 chief executive officers, international media moguls and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders gather in the small alpine village of Davos to participate on panels, in industry meetings and in 'off the record' sessions. The WEF meetings in Davos have been a ripe target for public diplomacy efforts over the past 38 years, and the WEF’s founder, Dr. Klaus Schwab, has preserved the original intent of the forum in maintaining its focus as a place for informal dialogue and debate on major social and economic problems."

The scramble for arms - Huma Yusuf, "Not content with shaming US diplomats, the Pakistani press this week, under the cover of the WikiLeaks scandal, dragged Indians into the mire too. News reports, which have since been retracted, cited fake leaked cables in which US diplomats described senior members of India`s military as egotistical, geeky, and even genocidal, while Indian politicians were accused of maintaining ties with Hindu fundamentalists. The propagandistic use of the `leaked cables` occurred at the expense of the local media's credibility, but in the publication of these false reports lies a vital reminder about Pakistani foreign policy.

Notably, reports about the fake cables were sourced to an Islamabad-based news agency that has been described in the international media as having close links to the Pakistani intelligence services. Writing in the Guardian , Declan Walsh rightly pointed out that the readiness of news organisations to publish the false reports without verifying their content indicates the Pakistan Army`s continued influence over the supposedly free media landscape. The fact that America`s lowest moment in public diplomacy and international perception can be reoriented as a critique about India in the Pakistani public sphere is telling. The incident reiterates what the WikiLeaks made clear, and what we all already knew even before the document dump: the country`s foreign policy — and the national conversation about it — is being carefully micromanaged by the army." Image from

On VOA Deewa Radio, guests debate whether WikiLeaks are journalism or espionage - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on international Broadcasting

VOA, NPR, and Public Diplomacy/Propaganda - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "During the thought-provoking event co-organized by Professor Shawn Powers at the New America Foundation, 'International Broadcasting, Public Media, and the News Deficit,' many noteworthy comments were made by its distinguished panelists. But the observations that struck me most were those made by Loren Jenkins, senior editor of NPR's (National Public Radio) foreign desk, and Steve Redisch, VOA (Voice of America) Executive Editor, in answer to a question about the possibility of the Voice of America -- funded by the U.S. government -- and National Public Radio -- which calls itself 'an independent, self-supporting media organization' -- joining forces. Jenkins replied NPR provided accurate information/news (including from overseas) to Americans; Redisch said VOA provided same to foreign audiences.

Most significant, though, was how Jenkins and Redisch defined why their organizations provided information/news. Jenkins said NPR's purpose was to 'educate'; Redisch, a former CNN producer, said that VOA must (among other goals, education not cited among them) provide 'entertainment.' Educate and entertain. Pick your choice. Personally, I would simply say, 'Tell it straight.'" Image from

Public Affairs, Mosques of America - Matt, "This journal once chronicled the experience of a low-level American diplomat living in Guatemala. Then he went to Latvia. We are now focussed on his new assignment in Afghanistan. ... It is shocking how many people in Afghanistan literally don't believe that there are mosques in America. The Lovely Katherine escorted a visiting American Imam around Kabul and some outlying provinces, and reported that at many of the medrassas and mosques where he spoke, the students literally did not believe at first that he could be a Muslim from America, because everyone knows that Muslims in America are persecuted or jailed or worse. I wish there were an easy way to fix it.

So you've got some ridiculous percentage of Americans believing President Obama is a Muslim (as if there would be some horrible problem if he were) and some ridiculous percentage of Afghans believing that there are no Muslims in America. I'm not supposed to get into policy issues in this forum, but it seems there just might be some space for further public diplomacy here." Image from article

Winning the State Department Meritorious Honor Award in Public Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy in Afghanistan: "December 7, 2010 was a special day for me because I had the honor of receiving the State Department Meritorious Award from Karl Eikenberry, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan for my contributions in public diplomacy. The letter attached to the award said,

'Her energy and dedication has led to the completion of a series of highly successful projects that have told the Regional Command East story, developed capacity in the Afghan media and fostered civilian- military (Civ-Mil) integration.'" Image from article: Mahtab Farid receiving Meritorious award from Ambassador Eikenberry

FWEN Wraps Up Successful Year with Retreat in Ramallah - "The Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program brought a successful year of training, mentorship, and business creation to a close with a retreat at the Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah from Thursday, December 9, to Saturday, December 11.

The 12 women participating in the second phase of the FWEN program benefited from a weekend together to brainstorm and evaluate their progress, as well as to take part in several informative workshops. On Friday, Esperanza Tilghman, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, led a workshop on public speaking and presentation skills, and continued an informative question-and-answer session with the FWEN women over lunch." Image from article: Esperanza Tilghman demonstrates effective presentation skills.

Indian PD and Soft Power - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "India had a high-level PD conference last weekend. A number of my profs were on hand, including the sagacious Prof. Nick Cull. ... I am going to India- to help them figure out how to project that soft power, and use public diplomacy to amplify their efforts. Things are looking promising that I indeed might cut the Gordian bureaucratic knot."

Russia's Got Talent - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "[Putin] got on stage during a charity concert to support the fight against children's oncological and ophthalmological diseases in Russia. He played the Soviet song 'From Where the Motherland Begins' - already famously a part of his repertoire - and later even joined the jazz band to sing Armstrong's 'Blueberry Hill.' The Prime Minister performed the latter to 'a standing ovation'.

The concert, which took place in St. Petersburg's Ice Palace, was also attended by several international celebrities, Sharon Stone, Monica Bellucci, and Gerard Depardieu among others. Certainly, the desire to raise funds for a great cause is applaudable. Yet, this obvious PR event was also very much an attempt at public diplomacy - personality-based public diplomacy. RussiaToday TV, too, did not miss the opportunity to highlight yet another one of Putin's great talents, of course." Image from article

China - We Must Stick to the Path of Peaceful Development - "The CPC Central Committee's Proposal for Formulating the 12th Five-Year Plan for China's Economic and Social Development adopted by the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee has drawn the grand blue print for China's development in the next five years. It is reiterated in the part on external relations that China stands firmly for peace, development and cooperation, pursues the independent foreign policy of peace, sticks to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up, safeguards China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and is ready to work with other countries to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. ... We have made good use of the hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games, the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China, the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, the Guangzhou Asian Games and other major events to strengthen public diplomacy and people-to-people and cultural exchanges and build up China's image as a culturally-advanced, democratic, open, progressive and responsible major country, make more friends among countries in the world and deepen our friendship with them, actively guide international public opinion and help deepen the building of state soft power."

Karganbek Samakov: Future Kyrgyz parliament structure must to be cut down - “'Future parliament structure in Kyrgyzstan must be cut down,' Karganbek Samakov, Ata Meken faction deputy, said to news agency. ...He mentioned that he didn’t believe the stability of future coalition. 'I repeat once more: if suggested alliance does not take into consideration interests of all parties, including partners, such configuration will not exist long. Coalition will have to be formed by 'public diplomacy' type, that is by negotiations of all five factions leaders,' added Karganbek Samakov."

‘The Al Jazeera Effect and the Power of Collaboration beyond Monologue and Dialogue’ - How the New Global Media are Reshaping World Politics! - Explore, Innovate & Communicate: "William J. Fulbright argued that 'In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine.' ... A focus on relationship building at every level is what can and should separate public diplomacy from propaganda, lobbying, and public relations. Today, a greatly expanded number of private groups and actors are participating in outreach initiatives across borders. Transnational monologues, dialogues, and partnerships take place every day, both within and outside of the boundaries of official government-initiated or -sponsored public diplomacy. These private initiatives can complement and/or provide models for formal state public diplomacy strategies—or, in certain circumstances, undermine the government’s goals. Governments should be actively aware of and responsive to this alternator competing communication flows to encourage and/or support positive developments and to correct misinformation and engage in dialogue when necessary. ... Controlling, managing and regulating

the media content is one of the favourite strategies of both dictators and so called liberal democratic governments across the world to achieve desired results ... . Is it possible anymore? With concept of Public Diplomacy being mounted by the various nations, no longer the response for a foreign policy initiative is a matter of time. Because events are happening dynamically. ... [S]haring information, sharing content like music files, photographs, presentations, documents, research knowledge, arts and cultural images, movies is great metaphor for Public Diplomacy or what originally envisaged by the world Glasnost pioneered by Mikhail Gorbachev." Image from

Environmental Diplomacy and the Impact of NGOs - Emmy Östlund, The New Diplomacy E: A reflective group blog by some of the students on The New Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "NGOs have had significant influence in international negotiations, exercising pressure on politicians and leaders and creating public awareness through public diplomacy."

Call for Application NATO international school Azerbaijan - "The NISA Winter Session will be held on January 30th – February 6th, 2011 in Baku, Azerbaijan. ... Concept of the event. While the dangers characteristic of the Cold War period had greatly diminished, complex new risks, which threatened Euro-Atlantic peace and stability, had emerged. These included terrorism, ethnic conflicts, violation of human rights, political instability, economic fragility, and the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery. These and other matters establishing a new security environment compelled NATO

to think about revising its Strategic Concept to reflect the dramatic changes occurred since 1999, after the adoption of the last Concept. The main goal ahead is to reshape the NATO’s core objectives, its missions, fundamental security tasks, plans and procedures under these new security circumstances. ... NISA is non-governmental organization that functions as research, education and information and training centre on Euro-Atlantic security and integration course. It has been officially registered in January 2007.The Government of Azerbaijan to a great extent is meeting the expenses of NISA activities as well as NATO Public Diplomacy Division." Image from


WikiLeaks – Hype, Propaganda or Revolution? - Frank R. Suess, Quantum Pranx: WikiLeaks turns the table around. It demands government transparency. The WikiLeaks position is that governments have no right to confidentiality versus those who pay their salaries: the people. These two positions are diametrically opposed. What is intriguing is that the very effect of WikiLeak’s push for state transparency could well lead to the very opposite, namely increased internet censorship, more regulations and less state transparency. In fact, in consideration of the above quote – “a multi-tentacled media machine that has become, for all intents and purposes, a propaganda organ of the state.” – we may raise the question whether in fact Mr. Assange, the defender of free speech, is being instrumentalized, consciously or unconsciously, in the interest of his declared enemy. Clearly, no matter how you look at it, the internet is a force that governments are having a hard time keeping in check. It appears they are determined to assert more control, if that is indeed in any way possible.

Iran: The West takes advantage of stoning for propaganda - Secretary General of Iran's High Council for Human Rights Mohammad Javad Larijani said on Monday the West takes advantage of stoning for propaganda. “The issue of stoning is a fraud and propaganda of the West.

Human rights cannot encompass the kinds of punishments determined by rules of any country,” he said. Image: An Iranian woman, symbolically dressed up as a victim of death by stoning, takes part in a protest of the National Council of Resistance of Iran outside a European Union Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels in 2005

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