Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20

"Ultimately Afghanistan is a strategic distraction."

--President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Hass; image from


DipNote: The Week in Review - Ethiopian Review: "[P]ublic diplomacy efforts connected individuals through sports diplomacy in Vietnam and educational exchanges. Assistant Secretary Ann Stock shared about the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants’ mid-year seminar, which brought together 418 individuals who hail from 49 countries and are teaching 31 languages at 230 colleges and universities in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia."

Voice of America English programs go the way of Voice of Russia, says former VOA journalist - "Free Media Online, a California-based media freedom NGO, reported that VOA’s English-language news service’s bias against Republican positions on foreign and domestic policy issues, which has been known for years by VOA insiders and does not extend to most VOA foreign language services, has become much more blatant during the current administration, with the reporting on the START treaty

being just the latest example of biased VOA English news coverage in violation of the Voice of America Charter. Free Media Online President Ted Lipien said that while some of the blame falls on VOA English Service reporters and editors, the responsibility for unbalanced reporting ultimately rests with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent Federal agency which oversees the Voice of America. On the START Treaty and many other news, the Voice of America English Service reporting went the way of the Voice of Russia and misleads important foreign audiences about America, its institutions and political debates, said Lipien." Image from

Who's Who at Wikileaks?‎ - Julie Lévesque, Center for Research on Globalization:

"Radio Free Asia is funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which describes itself as a body that 'encompasses all U.S. civilian international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio and TV Martí, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN)—Radio Sawa and Alhurra Television. Eight of its nine members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate; the ninth is the Secretary of State, who serves ex officio'. (Broadcasting Board of Governors) RFE/RL no longer hides its covert origins: 'Initially, both RFE and RL were funded principally by the U.S. Congress through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)... In 1971, all CIA involvement ended and thereafter RFE and RL were funded by Congressional appropriation through the Board for International Broadcasting (BIB) and after 1995 the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).['] (A Brief History of RFE/RL) Interestingly, in a report from 2002, the CFR suggested creating a Public Diplomacy Coordinating Structure (PDCS) to help define communications strategies and streamline public diplomacy structures. ‘In many ways, the PDCS would be similar to the National Security Council’... PDCS members would include the secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury and Commerce, as well as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and BBG chairman', a suggestion officially objected by the BBG 'to preserve the journalistic integrity.' (BBG Expresses Concern With Report Recommendations on U.S. International Braodcasting, 31 July 2002)." Image from

Wikileaks: Damage or democratic opportunity? - Stephen Collins, "What if statecraft was changed? What if public diplomacy became the norm? Certainly, behind-closed-doors conversations need to take place at times. But what if this exposure of the inner workings of international diplomacy was an opportunity to remake statecraft where deception and misdirection were anathema?"

Managing 21st-Century Diplomacy: Lessons from Global Corporations -sons from Global Corporations - Kristin M. Lord, Richard Fontaine, Center for a New American Center: "The U.S. State Department must evolve in order to manage America’s diplomacy more effectively. As the Department’s first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) recognizes, this requires both new ways of thinking and new methods of management. As a modest step toward that end, this paper examines the management strategies of four global corporations and identifies concrete lessons that could be applied to the U.S. Department of State.. ... Efforts to 'leverage the system' should ... extend to non-administrative functions. Shared themes and materials developed by functional bureaus, such as International Information Programs (IIP); Democracy, Human rights and Labor (DRL); and others, could be tailored at the regional and embassy levels. Some of this does take place, but too little and too infrequently. In the realm of public diplomacy, for example, these sorts of activities occur far less frequently than they did in the days of the U.S. Information Agency, which supported field activities as its core activity. ... Individual staff from these bureaus could be brought together on teams for specific projects, as, indeed, many are now. Learning from companies like GE and IBM, however, these teams could be institutionalized in order to give them higher priority. Employees could be evaluated based on their performance in both their horizontal and vertical

business units instead of the current system in which one boss and one set of responsibilities take priority over all others. This change would reward State Department employees who work well across the organization rather than just up and down their own leadership chains. It would also empower the Department to address the complexity of today’s multidimensional issues more effectively. For instance, the State Department recently created new deputy assistant secretary (DAS) positions for public diplomacy and public affairs located in each of the regional bureaus. Those DAS’s report to the regional assistant secretaries, but have a 'dotted' reporting line to the under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. They are expected to consult and coordinate with the under secretary but do not report to her formally. Innovations like these increase the likelihood of integrating functional expertise into regional policies and strategies and that valuable information from the regions is incorporated into broader public diplomacy efforts." Image from

A Closer Look at Sri Lanka’s War-ravaged North: Washington can learn from Asian Tribune tour
- Asian Tribune: "Does the U.S. Embassy aware that only 15% of Sri Lanka’s total population domiciled in the north and east? Does it know that the Budget presented by the Sri Lanka government in November has allocated approximately 25% of appropriation to the north and east for development and other economic activity? I am aware that the U.S. Embassy in Colombo has an economic section to know the above two salient statistics. I am also aware that the embassy has a political section that monitors the developments in Sri Lanka for its diplomatic cables to the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in Washington’s Department of State. The embassy’s political section has a Foreign Service officer (FSO) cadre to understand politics, political trends, developments, their impact and how they fit in to Washington’s Country Plan for Sri Lanka.

The most valuable tool the political section possesses is its Foreign Service National (FSN) cadre to investigate, assess, analyze and observe political trends the FSOs are unable to engage in to get a clearer understanding which greatly helps Washington to formulate policies on Sri Lanka. To achieve that, these two cadres, FSOs and FSNs, need to have tools complete with adequate public diplomacy and strategic communication. Equipped with that, Washington frequently encourages them to undertake field tours to understand unambiguous ground situation and trends. The link between the FSOs and Washington’s South Asia Bureau is this FSN who travels alone or occasionally with an FSO. Has this been undertaken to understand the post-war northern Sri Lanka? After a good ten-year (1970 thru 1980) training in public affairs this writer had the privilege of using the public diplomacy and strategic communication skills that he acquired, while being a team member of Colombo’s US Mission political section (1980 thru 1995), to interact with policy makers and those who influence policy makers, and especially with grass root base in Sri Lanka to help FSOs and Washington understand the nuances of Sri Lanka’s complicated governance, its political institutions and emerging trends in the rural community who live in 72% of the rural landmass. ... The seriousness of the inadequacy of reporting and the political reports based on conflicting information and assessments from U.S. overseas diplomatic missions was candidly summarized by Hillary Clinton’s deputy in the state department Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale in a keynote address inaugurating Harvard Public Diplomacy Collaborative in September 2009 in the following manner: 'We cannot sit behind embassy walls and speak only to the people who agree with us. We have to engage, even when we disagree with others. We have to communicate-two-way communication, not one-way messaging-through both government-to-people dialogue and people-to-people dialogue.'” Image from

Al Jazeera: the Arabs' vox populi! The effect of the 'New Arab media' on Arab politics has been dramatic, providing new levels of public scrutiny - Larbi Sadiki, "Al Jazeera champions the Palestinian cause and gives space to hearing the marginals of the Arab world: dissidents of all colour. Al Jazeera has done wonders for the Palestinian cause, globalising it more than ever before.

It is a feat that decades of Arab public diplomacy has failed to deliver! ... What are Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty if not tools of foreign policy? Radio Free Europe has distributed thousands of free radios this year in a bid to counter Taliban propaganda. Al-Hurra, which is a waste of US taxpayers' money, was created to further US interests – spreading the 'gospel' of freedom and democracy. ... Al Jazeera along other sister Arab satellite channels have de-centred the media scene. Al Jazeera, in particular, gives a voice or 'forum' to the voiceless, as its own propaganda puts it. Had Arab states opened up their own media, their own dissidents would have addressed their audiences through the local media. Al Jazeera is blameless in this. Al Jazeera is the gift of Qatar. Qatar invented Al Jazeera into a broadcaster beyond expectations."

The goyim and us‎: We need to care about what they think. That’s what ‘hasbara’ is all about: understanding how to explain our policies and positions - Jeremy Ruden, Jerusalem Post: "Israel does not exist in a vacuum.

We do have friends in the world and we need their support to survive in every aspect of our existence. All those who deal with public diplomacy are aware of that, but many segments of the public itself are in denial." Image from

Laurence Weinbaum: Poland - a tale of two monuments - Laurence Weinbaum, "In the middle of October a group of Jewish intellectuals and activists was invited to Warsaw to take part in a conference organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs devoted to public diplomacy and Polish-Jewish relations. The exchange of ideas was free and frank and the Polish hosts could not have been more hospitable, nor more sensitive to Jewish concerns. There is no doubt that in the twenty years that have elapsed since the collapse of Communism, a new Poland has emerged — one in which the preservation of Jewish memory is considered a national priority, and is expressed in innumerable, and often unexpected and moving, ways."

Azerbaijani top official: Economy maintains momentum of regional leadership in 2010 -"Trend interviewed Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Political Analysis and Information Provision Department Head Elnur Aslanov. ... He indicated in the main, the major interest today is to inform the world about the Karabakh conflict, the just position of Azerbaijan,

and the historic essence of the matter. 'It is necessary to talk about it to all, everywhere and always. It is a part of public diplomacy, and the offensive policy, repeatedly voiced by President Aliyev,['] he said." Image from article

Public Diplomacy Campaign - Dede Mahfudh [Google translation:] "As an institution recognized assessment and not a liberal moderate, INSISTS gained the confidence the government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent Indonesia to Austria. Acaranya dinamakan Public Diplomacy Campaign, sebuah program diplomasi yang konon diprakarsai oleh Bapak Hasan Wirayuda (Menteri Luar Negeri kabinet Indonesia bersatu jilid I). Her show is called the Public Diplomacy Campaign, a program that supposedly diplomacy initiated by Mr. Hasan Wirayuda (Minister of Foreign Affairs of United Indonesia Cabinet volume I)."

Update & thoughts on Anti-Americanism - Molly, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: Experiences of American Students in Britain: "My beloved supervisor [Phil Taylor] passed away. ... My final bit of work before the break was an essay on anti-Americanism. I'll be using it as a springboard for my next essay, how anti-Americanism fits into my PD research.

My main point is that anti-Americanism is the target of PD--it is what we are battling against in the 'battle over hearts and minds.' There are different causes of anti-Americanism, and different ways of using PD tools to fight them . ... After 9/11, when we asked 'why do they hate us?', some said that the fact we had to ask, the fact we weren't already aware of the offense we'd caused around the world, was reason enough to hate us. That's why I'm fascinated by the potential of PD...That, and because Phil Taylor inspired me to work in this field. RIP, Phil..." See also. Taylor image from article

IFRC Operations Manager - "International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is seeking Kenyan national to fill the position of an Operations Manager in the East Africa Regional Office in Nairobi ... Skills: ... •Excellent communications skills and public diplomacy"


Holbrooke: Why I Mourn - Christiane Amanpour, New Republic: Holbrooke was the rare diplomat who understood the need to make his case publicly—that the press was not always an adversary, but was sometimes an effective method for advancing America’s goals. He was not a moralist, not by a long shot;

but he was a moral man, and he was genuinely committed to using American persuasion and power to lessen the cruelty in the world. Bluff, burly, profane, unexpectedly sensitive, and hilariously funny, Holbrooke was the quintessential opposite of the pin-striped organization men and women who often populate government service at home and abroad. Richard died the day before the fifteenth anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. See also. Image from

U.S. Diplomats in India wanted to enlist Bollywood stars in the fight to stabilize the war-torn country - Bollywood finds mention in WikiLeaks in a confidential cable sent by U.S. diplomats in India suggesting that the appeal of Bollywood stars in Afghanistan could aid international efforts to stabilize the country. Media reports here over the weekend have quoted the March 2007 cable that was a response to a request from Washington for “specific, concrete ideas for opportunities for India to use soft power in helping Afghanistan's reconstruction." The cable from U.S. diplomats in India said Bollywood was an area that “seems ripe” and added, “We understand Bollywood movies are wildly popular in Afghanistan, so willing Indian celebrities could be asked to travel to Afghanistan to help bring attention to social issues there.” However, the U.S. embassy's proposal to send Bollywood stars to Afghanistan never materialized.

India using terrorism as propaganda tool against Pak, says Salman - Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has said that India is using terrorism as a tool of propaganda against Pakistan. Talking to private TV channel, he said that Pakistan not only had condemned the Mumbai attack but fully assisting India in the investigations of incident, adding that India should not use this incident as a tool of propaganda, if Indian media protests on the incident then Indian leadership should tell the truth to its masses about the incident.

'Red' Twitter: China's revolutionary take on microblogging - Melissa Bell, Washington Post: China may not be a fan of Twitter, but it certainly has embraced the model of the social networking site.

A local propaganda department in the Chinese city of Chongqing has created the "Red Microblog." It looks just like Twitter, only instead of encouraging people to write what's new, the site calls for "text messages praising the country or the city," the Telegraph reports. Image from article: A woman uses a computer at an Internet cafe in Shanghai.

U.S. students discovering U.K. universities - Daniel de Vise, Washington Post: The population of U.S. undergraduates at United Kingdom schools

has spiked 30 percent in five years, to 3,560 in the 2008-09 academic year, the most recent figure available from Britain's Higher Education Statistics Agency. It's a trend driven by price, prestige and - in the case of St. Andrews - a prince. St. Andrews, founded in 1413, is two centuries older than Harvard. It is the birthplace of golf - and of the romance between Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton. Image from

1 comment:

Pauline said...

Thank you for your article, pretty worthwhile material.