Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31

"The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself."

--New York Times pundit David Brooks; image from


Nathan And James Curate Art In Embassy Wellington - David Huebner, U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Blog: "Perhaps the most unexpected and intriguing State Department program I’ve encountered is Art in Embassies. Established in 1964, the Art in Embassies Program is in essence a global museum that exhibits original American works of art in the public rooms of approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide. Assembled by borrowing art from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections, the exhibits play an important role in public diplomacy. How? By exposing international audiences to the diversity, vibrancy, and creative power of American art and culture that they might not otherwise see. My first thought was that Dr McWaine and I were going to have great fun with all this. I have strong views on a variety of art-related issues, and I eagerly started bouncing potential themes off the Doc. My second thought, however, was that choosing the art ourselves would be a lost opportunity. So, instead, we decided to ask a young Kiwi artist and a young American artist to develop a theme together and select the works for us.

That approach seemed to resonate more strongly with the goals of the Program, and it introduced a degree of unpredictability, challenge, and surprise into the process, which I always like to encounter in art. We spent a large amount of time searching for the artists. I emailed the art critic at the L.A. Times, consulted with Jenny Harpur of the Christchurch Art Gallery, spoke with art professors in Auckland and Los Angeles, and trawled studios and galleries. Dr McWaine solicited the views of art patrons. We googled fiendishly. Quite a few excellent prospects materialized. And, as a result, we discovered Aucklander James Brown and Southern Californian Nathan Huff. ... Once the works have been installed at the Residence, Nathan and James will draft an illustrated exhibition booklet reflecting on their theme and interpreting the works that they selected. We will print the booklet here at the Embassy, make it available online, and start scheduling viewings at the Residence." Image from article, with caption: Nathan introducing James to IN-N-OUT Burger, a beloved bit of SoCal culture.

On U.S. politics - defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com: "[T]he behemoth USA is unlikely to turn on Allies or (perceived) threats suddenly and without obvious early indicators. ... There have also been many early indicators for a decoupling from Europe; widespread French-bashing, 'Old Europe' criticism, popular derogatory remarks on different European nationalities and the myth of a Muslim invasion or take-over of Europe are concerning. A complete decoupling may of course create the option of open conflict between European powers and the U.S., something that hasn't extended beyond minor trade wars for generations. A reverse of this with public diplomacy and cultural influence might help to prevent open inter-Atlantic conflict in a generation or two."

Begin Breaks Likud Ranks on INR Radio; Rejects PA State - Gavriel Queenann, Arutz Sheva: "Minister without portfolio Benny Begin (Likud), in an Israel National News Radio interview on Monday, rejected the creation of an Arab state west of the Jordan River saying the right of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland was 'obvious' and that such a state would become a 'haven of impunity' for terror. ... Begin

conceded Israel starts at a public relations disadvantage due to the vastly greater sums the Arab world pours into its anti-Israel media efforts, but said Israel has a big advantage in its 'hasbara [public relations, ed.] war' because it doesn't have to 'sell lies.' 'It used to be Hasbara was translated 'propaganda,'' Begin explained. 'Now they call it 'public diplomacy,' which is a little nicer. But years ago it was considered by Israelis to be 'propaganda' [and therefore beneath them, ed.] One of the nice things about our 'propaganda' is that we don't have to sell lies. We can suffice ourselves with telling people things as they are. We have to tell them the truth. And we have to ask them to judge. Because once they know the facts they will be able use moral judgment.'" Begin image from

The Arabs and Turkey: Present Challenges and Future Prospects - middle-east-studies.net: "In the spirit of a shared historical legacy, a common geographical reality, and mutual interests that bind Arabs and Turks, the Doha ACRPS held a symposium on May 18 and 19, which was entitled 'Turkey and the Arabs: Present Challenges and Hopes for the Future,' and focused on a number of set themes: historical relations and outlooks for the future, politico-strategic themes, economic relations, and water and energy issues, in addition to the societal aspect

of relations between the Arabs and Turkey. ... One of the fears which arose in the deliberations was the possibility of a 'New Ottomanism' arising, with participants insisting that the growth of healthy, bi-lateral relations which allowed for enhanced mutual respect and exchanges between the two sides should be developed instead. Such relations would benefit enormously from the commonalities inherent between the Arabs and Turkey; expanding exchanges and dialogue, on both the official and public diplomacy levels, could enable Arabs to arrive at a greater self-knowledge of what they sought out of relations with Turkey, as well as how they could cooperate among themselves to achieve these aims." Image from article

China needs public diplomacy strategy for cyberspace - Li Xiguang and Wang Jing, People's Daily Online: Given its lesser standing in terms of international public opinion compared to the West, China should strive for the right to speak in public diplomacy in cyberspace, strengthen the universal participation of the public diplomacy on the Internet, draw attention to innovative means of public diplomacy in cyberspace, formulate a public diplomacy strategy for cyberspace and proactively build up a national brand. ... Overseas publicity through traditional media has become increasingly ineffective and expensive in the information-rich Internet era. It will be far more cost effective to conduct overseas publicity through public diplomacy and word-of-mouth publicity. Word of mouth can help save a lot of money on the advertising costs and is undoubtedly the cheapest publicity tool. The Chinese government used to invest heavily in promotions, advertisements and public relations activities to catch the attention of the world and to improve the country's international image. It should also consider using word of mouth,

a cheap but powerful publicity tool, to achieve the same goal. Millions of Chinese citizens have established personal contacts with various international social groups through different channels and forms, and keep exchanges and information communication with them through various languages over the past 30 years of reform and opening up. Each Chinese citizen that has international association experience and ability has certain connections with certain foreign social groups through social networking. This can be described as 'birds of a feather flock together.' ... In short, taking the opportunity of the great development of social networking to formulate China's public diplomacy strategy in cyberspace and actively launch China's Internet diplomacy to allow the international community to recognize China, and establish China's national brand in social networks is of great strategic importance." Image from

Confucius Institutes face uphill battle in development (2) - english.peopledaily.com.cn: "Chinese language teaching is about spreading Chinese language, history and culture. The promotion of Chinese is still sensitive to a certain degree in some neighboring countries due to the impact of certain historical issues. According to sources, although Chinese language learning has seen an upsurge in India and Vietnam in recent years and various colleges and language schools also offer Chinese courses, the Confucius Institute has not yet been able to establish itself in these two neighboring countries. ... Officials from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of India said that currently, the embassy has received dozens of phone calls from local citizens asking about Chinese courses almost every week, and some people have also asked about the Confucius Institute. However, India's official attitude towards the proposal of establishing Confucius Institutes in various major educational institutions has been negative. The establishment of Confucius Institutes is actually a form of public diplomacy. The Confucius Institute can enhance the international influence of China as well as foreigners' understanding towards China. The Confucius Institute can be considered as the one of the best platforms for 'people to people' exchanges between China and foreign countries."

Canada-India Innovation Summit at Ottawa‎ - siliconindia.com: "Toronto: India and Canada will break yet another milestone in their burgeoning ties as they hold the first Canada-India Innovation Summit June 20-21.

Kapil Sibal, minister of communications and information technology, and John Baird, Canadian minister of foreign affairs, will set the tone for the two-day summit at Ottawa's Carleton University. ... Carleton University is also home to the Canada-India Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy aimed at raising awareness about bilateral studies and public diplomacy, and develop initiatives to build a better understanding of the two countries." Image from

South Africa - Budget Vote Speech: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Honorable Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, National Assembly, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 - isria.com: "Our comrade and mentor, Oliver Reginald Tambo reminded us of this purpose of serving our people when he spoke in Lusaka on 1 July 1989. He said: ... '...The fact that we are all here is an expression of the unity of purpose among concerned patriots. It is a portent of the unity of the South African people. It serves also as an example of how South Africans should meet ... as equals, as compatriots, engaged in a common endeavour to create a better future for us all.... It is indeed our collective responsibility to rid our country [and the world] of the cause of conflict, deprivation and disunity...' ... Although much has changed since 1989, the words of OR still echo and carry meaning for the work of our country and especially our Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the DIRCO), it is appropriate then that our head office in Pretoria carries his name. It is not only the name of OR Tambo that we have adopted - our foreign policy objectives are grounded in the philosophy of our glorious movement that brought democracy and justice to our shores. It is our philosophy of togetherness, and the recognition of our interconnectedness, that frames our diplomacy – we are, as South Africans, because we are, as a society of nations. ... Through our Public Diplomacy, the DIRCO has increased its interaction with various sectors of our country, in an effort to ensure that ordinary South African’s can and should be able to associate themselves with our foreign policy."

Egyptian team in Tehran despite spying scam - Adel Moustafa, Egyptian Gazette: "An Iranian diplomat whom Egypt had ... briefly detained and questioned for spying left Cairo on Monday for Tehran on board the same plane carrying an Egyptian public diplomacy delegation seeking a thaw in ties between the two countries."

America’s Misadventures - Review of America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, Chas W. Freeman Jr - Anthony C. E. Quainton, American Diplomacy: "Freeman is a self-conscious and self-proclaimed intellectual. Few American diplomats today would dare to begin an essay with a Latin quotation from Caligula 'oderint dum metuant - Let them hate as long as they fear[.]'

He argues that we must discard Caligula’s dictum and instead return to our traditional respect for the opinions of mankind. For him public diplomacy is a much undervalued and underutilized skill. Throughout this volume his encyclopedic knowledge often shines quoting as he does a wide array of figures from Otto von Bismarck and John Quincy Adams to Woody Allen."

The Fortune Is In The Follow Up - George Kennedy, georgealfredkennedy.com: "Successful follow up must be habit-forming ... . Every successful person I ever encountered in public diplomacy, government and corporate relations, politics, business and sales emphasized the power of relationships – initially – over other factors to include products and services."

JOTW 22-2011 - Ned's Job of the Week: "8.) Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Consulate, New York, New York ... . The successful applicant will report to the Deputy Consul-General and will be responsible for media aspects of the delivery of the UK’s policy and public diplomacy objectives in the New York Consulate’s region."


Russian TV and Code Pink Disrupt Memorial Day Activities - Cliff Kincaid, canadafreepress.com: Adam Kokesh, an American who stars on KGB-TV, otherwise known as RT or Russia Today television, staged a publicity stunt at the Jefferson Memorial on May 28 and is now complaining about his arrest for “dancing.”

His video is getting attention from the media, while his followers are insisting that he was the victim of harsh police tactics. But an examination of the video of his arrest shows that the event was a planned provocation by professional agitators arranged in coordination with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, who was also arrested. Image from, with caption: Adam Kokesh arrested during an antiwar protest inside a U.S Senate office building, April 27, 2007

Israel's Borders: Religious Right Buys Into Propaganda and Reacts With Fury - goddiscussion.com: Conservatives and the religious right are furious over President Obama's May 19, 2011, speech concerning Israel's borders and the creation of two separate Israeli and Palestine states. According to Fox News and other conservative-leaning reports, Obama said that Israel must return to its 1967 borders or, as Sean Hannity proclaimed, Obama said that Israel must go to pre-1967 borders. Joseph Farah, editor in chief of the conservative news site World Net Daily, and author of The Tea Party Manifesto proclaimed that the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, and other devastating storms were the result of "Barack Obama's pledge to return Israel to pre-1967 borders."

This sentiment was echoed in a Christian YouTube video titled "God shows His disdain for Obama's 1967 Borders with Tornados n' Volcanoes," in which he snips out the portion of Obama's speech that included "mutually agreed swaps." According to "firecharger," the author of the video, the Joplin tornado and the Iceland earthquake were the direct result of Obama's alleged attempt to divide Israel. Image from

Israel's PR victory shames news broadcasters - u.tv: For their part, the Israelis have increased their PR effort. These new public relations were designed to co-ordinate specific messages across all information sources, repeated by every Israeli speaker.

Each time a grim visual image appeared, the Israeli explanation would be alongside it. In the US, messages were exhaustively analysed by The Israel Project, a US-based group that, according to Shimon Peres, "has given Israel new tools in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the world." Image from

Israel always needs an existential threat to survive - nl-aid.org: Nima Shirazi, a political commentator from New York City : The negative image of Iran as presented by Western media is nearly impenetrable. The reason for this is simple. Iran is one of the only countries in recent history to have successfully challenged Western imperialism and assert its independence from U.S. hegemony. As a result, it is mercilessly demonized in ways countries with far worse human rights records are not. In the United States, rampant anti-Iran propaganda serves to inure an increasingly militarized American populace to the reality of devastating sanctions which harm the Iranian public, sometimes with lethal consequences in the form of air safety, for example, and the possibility of military assault.

Anti-Pakistan propaganda inundates Afghan channels - Associated Press of Pakistan: Despite all efforts to build healthy working relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan governments, some unseen hand is bent upon vitiating the environment by inundating Afghan media with blatant disinformation, said well-informed sources. According to observers, the Pakistan-bashing campaign has picked up in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s killing at Abbottabad. Unknown persons claiming allegiance with shady warlords are regularly appearing on Afghan TV channels and making fake confessions concerning Pakistan’s involvement in anti- US or NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Oksanen in Interviewer Role for Film on Soviet Estonia - news.err.ee: Finnish Estonian author Sofi Oksanen was in town last week,

visiting Tallinn University's library for the making of a documentary film by YLE TV about the KGB and Soviet propaganda in Estonia. Oksanen image from article

More ‘BioShock: Infinite’ Propaganda Artwork Released - gamerant.com: After a long silence, Irrational Games teases

us with a peek at the controversial and politically-charged artwork that’s setting the stage for the drama of ‘Infinite.’ Image from article

AMERICANA: Walmartians

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 28-30

"An honorable nature, of any class, I always respect; but I won't pretend to a passion for the ignorant masses, for I have it not."

--Madame Grandoni, a character in Henry James's novel, The Princess Casamassima; James image from


Warsaw visit concludes Obama's four-nation European trip - Scott Wilson, Washington Post: "WARSAW — President Obama concluded his four-nation European trip Saturday after achieving much, if not all, of what he intended to. He did so by using, more than anything else, the original tool

of his public diplomacy — himself and his story. He had not made a multi-stop trip to Europe since his first year in office, and his goal, in large part, was to show Europeans that his outreach to Asia and other regions since taking office has not come at the expense of the country’s oldest alliance." Image from article

US Public Diplomacy Means Smiling Faces Hide Lying Lips - therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com: "The separatist movement in Balochistan province is fuelled by the country’s domestic policies and not India, a top US official said Thursday.

'I don’t think that the existence of a terrorist or a separatist movement in Balochistan is fuelled by Indian financing or anything like that,' US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said. ... Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting the rebels in Balochistan in order to destabilize the country. India, however, has categorically denied the allegations." Blake image from article

Locke Breezes through Senate Hearing - english.cri.cn: "US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the nominee for United States ambassador to China, waltzed through his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday as he told the panelists that balancing the trade deficit and reaching out to the Chinese public will be his priorities. If confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Locke

will become the first Chinese-American to serve as ambassador to China, where his parents were born. The committee is expected to confirm Locke soon, but the date for a vote has not been decided. ... [A] priority for Locke is to be more engaged in public diplomacy and to reach out directly to the Chinese people. He hopes that he can continue the blog set up by the US embassy and make appearances on radio and TV shows in China." Locke image from article

Today in Congress  - David Waldman, Congress Matters: "In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader: ... UNITED STATES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC DIPLOMACY  #131 Sim Farar – to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy  #132 William J. Hybl – to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy."

Mr. Ambassador, Meet President Zuckerberg: Facebook is sending diplomats to foreign countries. Now foreign countries should send diplomats to Facebook - Cyrus Farivar, Slate Magazine - "All the regions and countries that Facebook wants to target, ranging from Scandinavia to New Zealand, should each immediately reciprocate and begin planning to send their own chargé d'affaires to present their credentials to Mark Zuckerberg. Then they would devote their time to promoting their national interests to the company. An obvious application, for example, would be adapting Facebook's interface into more languages. While the company currently operates in a bunch of languages, ranging from Frisian to Thai, it is still sorely lacking in African languages. Senegal's envoys, for example, could lobby for more Wolof content, while their Haitian counterparts could argue for increased Kreyòl. 'In terms of public diplomacy, why not?' said Christopher Hughes, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, when I proposed the idea. (Hughes is not the Facebook co-founder of the same name.) 'In a way, most states are already putting parts of their diplomatic corps to use the Internet and to use technology to

promote their own message. […] In a way, this would make it easier for smaller states to do what bigger states are doing.' ... Over the last two years, with Hillary Clinton at the helm of the State Department, the U.S. has expanded its own '21st Century Statecraft,' with Obama's Persian-subtitled messages to the Iranian people and official State Department Twitter accounts in Portuguese, Arabic and other languages. Ambassador John Limbert, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran (and a former U.S. Embassy hostage in Tehran) told me this week that adopting these tools should already be part of a nation's diplomatic toolkit. 'Presumably, if a country's diplomatic service is doing its job, it will have tech-savvy people in its midst who, unlike people of my generation, will understand this stuff much better,' he  said.'" Image from article

A Skeptical Look at the Effectiveness of Jazz as a Tool of Public Diplomacy - Candace Ren Burnham: "Rather than continuing to develop and fund new [jazz] programs, the Department of State should re-evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs and then emphasize quality programming with measureable results.

By not having thorough and thoughtful program evaluations to back up its claims, the Department of State is overselling arts diplomacy, and risks losing credibility when those claims cannot be demonstrated." Image from

H.R. 1540—National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012: Dept of Navy to change name to "Dept of Navy and Marine Corps" - A Priest's Life: "Interagency coordination: The bill would require the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to jointly establish a standing advisory panel to advise, review, and make recommendations on ways to improve coordination among the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and USAID on matters relating to national security, including reviewing their respective roles and responsibilities in activities such as stability operations, foreign assistance, including security assistance, strategic communications, public diplomacy, and countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

The Revolving Door Continues... - William Kiehl, My PD Blog: "I was recently asked for my comments on the resignation of Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale.

While I am sure that Ms. McHale tried her best to rei[n]vigorate PD and took some steps in the right direction to attempt to reassert some 'command and control' of this function within the State Department, her tenure was only marginally successful. As long as political appointees continue to stay in office for an average of two years or less, our foreign policy and particularly our public diplomacy efforts will be less than successful. Each new appointee is determined to 'reinvent the wheel.' By the time they figure out what the problems are and have some sense of what to do they are out the revolving door back to where[...]ver they prefer to be and the next incumbent will start the process all over again. Multiply this by 1500 senior administration positions and another 1500 staff aides etc. and you have a pre[s]cription for inefficiency which plagues every administration. Isn't it time we cut back on the number of non-professionals in diplomacy just as we have in the military? In the 19th century, most officers--including generals--were appointees or simply bought their commissions and the nation paid a high price for such amatuerism. We professionalized the military officer corps in the early 20th century and it is now the most efficient force in the world. Will we ever professionalize the diplomatic service and the senior ranks of the bureaucracy? The president is entitled to have a cabinet that is loyal and politically committed but below the cabinet level and at the ambassadorial level abroad, most advanced countries rely on career professionals to perform these roles." McHale image from article

Reader Comment on: “Public Diplomacy in Uniform: The Role of the U.S. Department of Defense in Supporting Modern Day Public Diplomacy – James Rockwell, American Diplomacy: “While the author supports PD being primarily/ultimately directed under the DOS, she defeats her own argument when acknowledging that DOD does step into some voids, which are unfilled/unwanted by DOS. And, of course DOD is ‘nice to have along’ for security in hostile conditions… but should not have any PD functionality? Duh? The writer fails to recognize that there are more, many more, contacts between an indigenous population and a uniform vice a non-uniformed PD specialist from the Department of State (DOS).”

Public Diplomacy Began in Germany – Yale Richmond, American Diplomacy: "The United States is currently debating whether Public Diplomacy – talking directly to the people of another country – should be conducted by the State Department, with its more qualified personnel, or by the Department of Defense, with its much greater financial resources. However, it is not well known that Public Diplomacy began in the late 1940s in occupied Germany under the Office of Military Government, US (OMGUS),

and long before the term Public Diplomacy was coined." Image from article, with caption: Offices of an OMGUS newspaper in occupied Germany

Book Reviews: Trials of Engagement: The Future of US Public Diplomacy, Ed. By Ali Fisher and Scott Lucas - Michael Schneider, American Diplomacy: "Trials of Engagement shows that the field has come into its own as an academic pursuit. With ample footnoting and bibliographic references, the book seeks to meld theory and concepts with analysis of the conduct of public diplomacy. The authors are fully aware of the ramifications of the digital revolution, and offer ideas for a new consensus about how public diplomacy might contribute to a better world. At the outset the authors point out one of the central concerns of the book: the movement away from audiences as passive objects experiencing Public Diplomacy to cooperation with active, autonomous participants capable of involvement in a complex global 'network society.' The public diplomacy of the 21st century will rest on a view of communities as 'participants' and potential collaborators, not targets for messages, objects of influence for U.S. policy."

Wikileaks on Jamaica! - Warren's Blog: "Courtesy of wikileaks C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KINGSTON 002346 ... E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/15 ... SUBJECT: JAMAICA - DEMOCRACY PROMOTION STRATEGIES FOR WHA FOCUS COUNTRIES ¶7. (C) Developments in more troubled neighboring countries rightly absorbing greater attention by senior Department and Washington officials, but USG actions and opinions carry great weight with the GOJ and the Jamaican public, even when they disagree with us. Properly conceived and executed, more frequent public engagement on Jamaican issues (such as those described in Sections A and B, above) by senior USG officials would go a long way here, as was demonstrated in the trafficking in persons (TIP) arena. Washington- and Embassy-based discussion of TIP initially met with considerable resistance from the GOJ,

which did not understand the problem, and which initially viewed our efforts as unfounded and unjustly punitive. By repeatedly engaging with officials, private sector contacts, and particularly the public diplomacy engagement via radio and television, however, G/TIP and Embassy efforts eventually resulted in a reluctant acknowledgment of the problem, public awareness of it, and a promising GOJ campaign to address TIP." Image from

This Memorial Day, remember the diplomats, too - Clayton McCleskey, Dallas Morning News, posted at War Zone Feds: "On Memorial Day, we rightly pause to remember those who serve our nation in military uniform. But we should also recognize the more than 12,000 members of the American diplomatic corps who serve in Washington and in 271 missions across the globe. 'They are the ones out there on the front lines trying to advocate and explain [American] policies, regardless of which administration they are serving,' said Karen Hughes, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy under President George W. Bush. She praised the Foreign Service as 'a very dedicated group of public servants' who 'work and make sacrifices around the world in some very difficult assignments.' ... 'Diplomacy used to be thought of as the quiet, behind-the-scenes, government-to-government communications,' Hughes

told me. It’s now so much more than that. 'In order for America to enact the kinds of policies we want to enact around the world,' Hughes explained, 'we have got to build a public case for those policies, for our values and for our interests.' Our diplomats are out in the trenches doing just that, often at great personal danger." Hughes image from

Broadcasting Board of Governors will hold its "first ever public meeting" on 3 June - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Parazit: the VOA program with a "US fan base" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

About Town: Life is Good; Yard Sales; and a Special Guest Speaker is Coming to Stoughton - "SHAI BAZAK, ISRAEL's CONSUL GENERAL TO NEW ENGLAND, IS COMING TO STOUGHTON! He'll be discussing 'The Middle East’s Shifting Sands and Israel as the Bedrock of Jewish Identity' on Sunday, June 5 at 9:45 a.m. at Ahavath Torah Congregation at 1179 Central Street. ). ... He has held many positions in the Israeli government and the private sector. Mr. Bazak was the CEO of a American private investment company interested in high-tech in Israel (Old City Group) and was also a professor of media at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya (2008-2010). Mr. Bazak is a well known media analyst in Israel who has appeared on various public forums focusing on politics, public diplomacy and Israel-US relations."

Swedish Institute (SI) - culture360.org: "The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency that promotes interest and confidence in Sweden around the world. SI seeks to establish cooperation and lasting relations with other countries through strategic communication and exchange in the fields

of culture, education, science and business. SI also supports Swedish language instruction at foreign universities. SI works closely with Swedish embassies and consulates around the world. Cultural diplomacy is considered an highly effective component in the Swedish approach to public diplomacy." Image from

Repositioning Bangladesh using soft power‎ - Ashfaqur Rahman, The Daily Star: "We know that soft power resources are usually outside the control of governments. They are in the hands of individuals and non-governmental organisations. Soft power,

therefore, works indirectly and can only shape the environment for policy. It can take years to produce desired results. But the government of Bangladesh through the conduct of cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy can enhance the image of the country and bring quick results. The Bangladesh Diaspora is an effective medium to showcase our soft power. The internet can also bring many of our ideas and ideology to the attention of foreigners. Setting up more libraries and information centeres both at home and abroad as well as translating more Bangla literature into English are the other ways to project Bangladesh's soft power. Our visual and performing arts, fashion, cuisine and folk tales are also elements of this power. In the long run it is our soft power or the attractiveness of Bangladesh through its ideas, ideologies and interests that can help us climb higher in rank among the comity of nations." Image from

Brits and friends: Does Kashmir really interest Europe? - Arjimand Hussain Talib, GreaterKashmir.com: "The Brits are back in the town. It is the first visit by the British High Commissioner in India to Srinagar this year. ... [S]uch visits are part of the normal public diplomacy initiatives influential countries take overseas. Both publicly and privately, members of these delegations make it amply clear that the basic aim of these missions is to learn about the current situation in Kashmir."

Sri Lanka's ties with emerging states must be properly “managed”‎ - Sunimalee Dias, Sunday Times.lk: "Sri Lanka needs to better 'manage' its bilateral relations with India and China and engage ex-LTTE combatants to join the workforce, an international terrorism expert said on Monday. In respect of India and China, Sri Lanka will need to 'manage the relationship very carefully,' Prof. Rohan Gunaratne, a Sri Lankan scholar based in Singapore, told

the Business Times on the sidelines of his speech on 'Global Terrorism – The Threat and the Response' organized by the Shippers’ Academy – Colombo held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). ... Prof. Gunaratna remained highly critical of the foreign service in the country, noting it is essential to send the best minds and not retirees or children of ministers to overseas missions. He also asserted the need to establish a public diplomacy capability and to engage NGOs through an advocacy unit." Image from, with caption: Jacqueline Fernandez Accepting Miss Sri Lanka

Takshashila Shala - vote for my talk on Participatory Democracy! - Balaji, Musings: "I just got the talk-schedule for Sunday's Takshashila Shala from Nitin. There are 3 half hour talks up for grabs from participants. ... In the meanwhile, here's the list of talks . ... 14:00 - 14:30 - Navdeep Suri - Why public diplomacy matters."

A living legacy of Democracy: One year later! - uamuzik.blogspot.com: "A year ago today many lost a good friend, my friend, Iryna, lost a caring husband and companion and two young ladies lost a father. Before that tragic day arrived, my friend Ilko Kucheriv, was waging a battle of a lifetime, which unfortunately he lost. ... Friend of mine Mark Rachkevych, originally of Chicago, who now makes Kyiv his home, wrote in the Kyiv Post: 'I recall meeting Kucheriv at the Drum [ed. a Kyiv haunt of journalist and democratically minded Ukrainian youth, and expats.] when he returned from his six-month Reagan-Fascell fellowship in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Like many who come back from stints in the West, full of ambition and fresh ideas, Kucheriv proclaimed that he’d start to engage in public diplomacy, whose practice he said would make Democratic Initiatives the preeminent think-tank in Ukraine, on par with the Cato or Brookings Institute. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he’d been practicing public diplomacy ever since 1992, and successfully at that. That’s the kind of person he was. He was the big, serious teddy bear with a vision.'”

Public Diplomacy Jobs - Ren's Microdiplomacy

Desree Barlow Tells Pals;-I’m in love with a stranger - redpepper.co.ug: "She is back in town and we know the kind of spell she has over lads. We are talking about the ex Capital FM, UBC and WBS news anchor, the juicy Desree Barlow. Well, it looks like some dude has cast spell on her. Close pals tell us that she has been telling close pals how she is finally in love. A source was quoted; 'She says she is in love with a stranger and she talks about him all the time.' ...

It should be remembered though that Desree Barlow found herself in tight fix a few years back when her lover found her in bed with another man. A fight ensued and the case was reported at Kiira Road Police station. Desree had to be dragged pantless with her lover boy to the police to record a statement. While at Police, the sex siren in her words told whoever cared to listen that; 'I’m fed up with that man, if he thinks that causing a scene and tarnishing my name will make me love him, he is mistaken.' She later acquired a scholarship and left our city to pursue Public Diplomacy at the University of Leeds. She recently returned to town to run horny fellas ‘gaga’ again."


Iran Vows to Unplug Internet - Christopher Rhoads and Farnaz Fassihi, Wall Street Journal: Iran is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world. The leadership in Iran sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet, according to observers of Iranian policy inside and outside the country. Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes. Image from article, with caption: An Iranian engineer who helped design and run the country's Internet filters says he subtly undermined some censorship until fleeing into exile

Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and World War II in American Memory - Samuel Redman, blogs.berkeley.edu: The image of Rosie the Riveter

as portrayed by Norman Rockwell sixty-eight years ago continues to play a powerful role in shaping our collective memory of the Second World War in the United States. Popular images such as Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover worked to shape the ideas that surrounded the role of women in defense industries during World War II. Both men and women who lived through this time, as they advance in age, continue to wrestle with sometimes conflicting memories about the war.

Nazi Propaganda Swing - Alan Bellows, posted at damninteresting.com: Despite the fact that swing and big band music were forbidden as “degenerate” in 1930s Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, cobbled together a skilled group of jazz musicians to form a propaganda swing orchestra.

The result was a bizarre combination of cheery tunes and hateful rants which were broadcast on medium- and short-wave bands to Canada, the US and Britain. It must have been pretty demoralizing to be listening to the radio only to hear a lightly-accented German interject his anti-American sentiments in the middle of a nice swing tune, particularly when the outcome of the war was far from certain. Image from article

Soviet Propaganda Posters - dieselpunks.org: This poster urges the public to join OSOAVIAKHIM, Union of Societies of Assistance

to Defence and Aviation-Chemical Construction, which prepared Red Army reserves and used its members' fees to fund new aircraft squadrons and airship flotillas.

Foolish Propaganda Posters - Midolinho, foolishmind.com:

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27

"Tuches aufn tish: Buttocks on the table."

--Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder Ira Chernus, about "the colorful way my Yiddish-speaking ancestors said, 'Let’s cut the BS and talk about honest truth.'” Image from, with caption: Found in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan


Statement of Gary Locke, Ambassador-Designate to China - scoop.co.nz: "As Secretary of Commerce, I focused on delivering more effective and efficient services to American businesses and workers in a way that reduced costs and simplified the bureaucratic process. If confirmed, I will approach the U.S. Mission in China in much the same way, looking for ways to engage in public diplomacy that work best to get our message across to the Chinese government and out to the Chinese people."

Confirmation panel has few questions for Locke - Kyung M. Song, Seattle Times: "Locke, whose parents ran a grocery store in Seattle, said his father, Jimmy, a World War II veteran and a native of Taishan in southern China, would have been proud to see his son become the first Chinese American named as ambassador to his ancestral country. Locke's appointment has drawn much attention in China. Chinese journalists nearly outnumbered their American counterparts among the three dozen reporters and photographers at the hearing. Locke's wife, Mona, and three children sat behind him during the testimony.

Thirty minutes into it, as Lugar pondered what he earlier called the 'incongruent reality of our public diplomacy in China,' an aide ushered a fidgety Madeline, 6, out of the room. Emily, 14, and Dylan, 12, bolted after their sister." Image, with caption: Gary Locke testifies on Capitol Hill on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination.

The Voice of America: Silenced in China - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "At a time when China's political, geostrategic and economic power is expanding, and when Beijing is investing resources into public diplomacy and soft power that would shame other major powers,

it is necessary to use all means necessary to engage with the people there. VoA does have an audience in China. By focusing only on the internet, Washington puts at risk the availability of alternative information for millions of Chinese. This is especially worrying at a time when the Communist Party's grip on the media and communications - especially the internet - is becoming tighter." Image from

Curious, Strange, Whatever - diplopundit.blogspot.com: "Victoria Nuland is Officially Announced as New State Dept Spokesperson: The Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs is the head of the Bureau of Public Affairs within the United States Department of State. Typically,

the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs is also the official spokesperson of the State Department. The Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs reports to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs ('R'). On May 26, 2011, the State Department announced the appointment of Ambassador Victoria Nuland as State Department spokesperson. She takes over PJ Crowley's old gig at the podium but unlike PJ, she will not be dual-hatted as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs." Nuland image from article

Public Diplomacy? Whatever - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "For most countries the big public diplomacy problem is not that other people disagree with you it’s that they don’t pay attention to you. This is not a problem that the US has often."

Prague 1970: Music in Spring - Martin Bresnick, York Times: "[I]n the autumn of 1969, after a politically and musically complicated second year as a graduate student at Stanford University,

I left America on a Fulbright Fellowship, with plans to study with Gyorgy Ligeti in Vienna." Bresnick image from article

The African-Indian Axis - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I’ve been busy with marking (grading for the American readers) this week and I may have missed it but beyond the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’s Twitter feed I haven’t seen any coverage of the Second Africa India Forum Summit being held in Abbis Ababa this week. The India-Africa axis certainly seems like an interesting area for exploring current public diplomacy practice. The Indians are concerned that their trade with Africa is only $45Bn a year compared with China’s $115Bn but these still seem like sizeable numbers. The Times of India provides this summary of new Indian aid:"

Image from article

Rwanda-Japan legislative association launched - in2eastafrica.net: "The Rwanda-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association was formally launched recently at the parliamentary premises in Tokyo, Japan. The association is made up of 15 founding members from both the House of Representatives (Congressmen/women) and the House of Councillors (Senators). ... The Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda to Japan, Benedicto Nshimiyimana, lauded members of the association for accepting and owning the idea of the Parliamentary friendship association. He reiterated his optimism that the association would strengthen the already existing excellent bilateral relations between Rwanda and Japan. 'It will be a tool for effective public diplomacy to reach beyond the normal government-to-government hierarchies to grassroots level,' Nshimiyimana noted."

Holding of the Completion Ceremony of the 30th Japanese language programs for Foreign Service Officers and the 14th Japanese language programs for Public Officials - "At the presentation ceremony, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chiaki Takahashi will deliver a congratulatory address, after which the Director-General of the Public Diplomacy Department Naoki Murata will present the certificates."

Why I declined President Jonathan’s invitation - ynaija.com: "Over the years, I have developed an habit for studying Leaders, in my over 25 years of living, I have had the privilege of sharing a table and speaking directly with over 70 Heads of States and President including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. ... Earlier in the year, I had also been invited by President Obama to the White House Forum for Young African Leaders in my capacity as YTI/YGA Special Reps to the United Nations alongside 120 other Young African leaders including 3 delegates from Nigeria led by another

dynamic Young Nigerian Taiwo Adewole. The meeting hosted by the White House afforded us the opportunity to dialogue with President Obama and Senior White House Officials especially the SSA to President Obama – Ambassador Mary Yates and Judith McHale – the US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Nigerian at the Forum (Myself, Bako Kantiok, Jennifer Ehidiamen, Ruth Audu and MKO’s Daughter Sarat Abiola) alongside our other African counterpart maximised the opportunity to highlight our concerns on the State of Africa and AFRICA-US Cooperation. President Goodluck Jonathan image from


Cuba under the lens at the Getty Museum: 'A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now' invites viewers to contemplate the country's many contradictions through a wide array of photographs - Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times: The Getty's show, which runs through Oct. 2, is one of L.A.'s opening salvos in a months-long cultural salute to the island nation that's taking place on both U.S. coasts this year. Upcoming happenings include a display of Cuban film posters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, performances by the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles, a spotlight

on contemporary Cuban cinema at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and an Aug. 24 Hollywood Bowl concert headlined by the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. A recent easing of travel restrictions between the countries may permit more such cultural exchanges. That could broaden perceptions of Cuba on this side of the Florida Straits, beyond postcard images of white-sand beaches or bleak impressions of tattered buildings and empty store shelves. Image from article, with caption: Ernesto "Che" Guevara in "Hombre Nuevo" is one of the dominant figures in Virginia Beahan's photographs of Cuba's landscape on view at the Getty Museum.

For the U.S., it's time to get out of Afghanistan: We should set an end date for the U.S. deployment in Afghanistan - Barbara Boxer, latimes.com: According to CIA Director Leon Panetta, there may be as few as 50 members of Al Qaeda residing in Afghanistan. Although we must remain vigilant in our efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and must continue our support for the Afghan people, there is simply no justification for the continued deployment of 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan. We are spending an estimated $10 billion a month there, and our total so far is almost half a trillion dollars. We have trained 125,000 members of the Afghan police and 159,000 members of the Afghan army, and spent an estimated $26 billion equipping them.

What Obama did to Israel - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: Obama’s response to relentless Palestinian intransigence? To reward it.

The Mideast Peace Process: Washington Makes Things Worse - Editorial, New York Times: Pandering on Israel in the hopes of winning Jewish support

is hardly a new phenomenon in American politics, but there is something unusually dishonest about this fusillade. Image from

Israel and the Palestinians Through the Looking Glass: The Myths That Underpin the Failure of American Policy in the Middle East - Ira Chernus, TomDispatch: There’s one last point that Obama and American public discourse get absolutely backwards: the idea that being a friend of Israel’s means endorsing its popular narrative, which offers no more truth than Alice’s looking-glass. Real friends don’t enable their friends to engage in self-destructive behavior.

To the Weary Good People of Israel and Palestine: Bring a Ladder and No Weapons - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: The U.S. is little more than a territory of Israel.

Washington's War on Chavez - Stephen Lendman, opednews.com: Since George Bush took office in January 2001, efforts to oust Chavez failed three times. Nonetheless, disruptive activities continue, including malicious propaganda, CIA subversion, funding opposition forces, sanctions, and militarizing the region, notably in Colombia as well as gunboat diplomacy by reactivating the Latin American/Caribbean Fourth Fleet for the first time since 1950 despite no regional threat.

Iran's Press TV Runs Into Trouble In Britain‎ - Walker Morrow, The Propagandist - Based in Tehran, Press TV takes, in its own words, "revolutionary steps as the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis." If it were a private media outlet, it might be congratulated: broadcasting news and opinion in Iran is a risky business, after all.

Alas, Press TV is essentially a government-funded propaganda arm for the Iranian regime. Being a media stooge for an inhuman, brutal government undoubtedly has its perks, if you're willing to occasionally ignore the stench of evil, but Press TV seems to have run up against a wall in Britain. Image from website

Opening Doors to Belarusian Art - warsawvoice.pl: Politics, propaganda, tradition, culture and the state of Belarusian society are among the main topics of a collective exhibition at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, entitled Opening Doors? New Belarusian Art.

As one of its objectives, the exhibition aims to help Belarusians look at their own art from the outside and without any taboos. Most of the displayed works deal in one way or another with problems Belarusians encounter on a daily basis, but only a few of the works boldly tackle issues which hardly anyone discusses publicly. Uncaptioned Image from article, presumably of an object at the exhibition.


ATM repairman who worked for Diebold accused of swapping $200K in fake bills for cash - Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing: 64-year-old Samuel Kioskl of San Francisco, who services ATMs for Bank of America as an employee of Diebold, has been charged with swapping $200,000 in

fake bills for real cash at machines. Last July, Kioskli went to six BofA branches in San Francisco and one in Daly City, and made off with about $200,000 by swapping out the cash in the machine trays with counterfeit or photocopied $20 bills, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Kioskl image from article

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26

"without anchor, without past, without history, without art."

--Victor Hugo about the United States; cited in in Thomas Albert Howard, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (2011), p. 16; image from


"Propaganda Czar Planned by Ike," The Milwaukee Sentinel (April 5, 1958); image from


Moscow 9 May 2011 Victory Day Soviet propaganda movie


Obama, hands off our spring‎ - Soumaya Ghannoushi, Guardian: "The first wave of Arab revolutions is entering its second phase: dismantling the structures of political despotism, and embarking on the arduous journey towards genuine change and democratisation. The US, at first confused by the loss of key allies, is now determined to dictate the course and outcome of this ongoing revolution. What had been a challenge to US power is now a 'historic opportunity', as Barack Obama put it in his Middle East speech last week. ... And how is this new world to be built? The model is that of eastern Europe

and the colour revolutions; American soft power and public diplomacy is to be used to reshape the socio-political scene in the region. ... However, although the Obama administration may succeed with some Arab organisations, its bid to reproduce the eastern European scenario may be destined to fail. Prague and Warsaw looked to the US for inspiration, but for the people of Cairo, Tunis and Sana'a the US is the equivalent of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe: it is the problem, not the solution. To Arabs, the US is a force of occupation draped in a thin cloak of democracy and human rights. No one could have offered stronger evidence of such a view than Obama himself, who began his Middle East speech with eulogies to freedom and the equality of all men, and ended it with talk of the 'Jewishness of Israel', in effect denying the citizenship rights of 20% of its Arab inhabitants and the right of return of 6 million Palestinian refugees." Image from

President Obama Should Advance the Polish–American Relationship - Sally McNamara, Morgan Roach, Heritage.org: "President Obama will conclude his eighth visit to Europe this week in Poland, where he will attend a summit of leaders of Central and Eastern Europe including the new President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga. This visit will be particularly significant as the Administration attempts to correct a series of missteps it has made in the region since taking office. The President’s resetting of relations with Russia was perceived as coming at the expense of America’s traditional allies in Central and Eastern Europe, not least of all Poland.

Faced with a number of public diplomacy disasters of his own making, President Obama now has an opportunity to advance key policy initiatives and to reassure the region that it is still important to the United States. ... Public Diplomacy Missteps [:] In April 2010, Poland experienced deep tragedy when President Lech Kaczynski, the First Lady, and 94 senior officials perished in the Smolensk air disaster. President Obama was unable to fly to Warsaw for the funeral because of the Icelandic ash cloud that had suspended all international flights to Europe. However, Obama was pictured playing golf on the day of the funeral. This is not the first public diplomacy gaffe that the Obama Administration has made in the region. While European heads of state and government—including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin—lined up to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 2009, the White House failed even to respond formally to the invitation. National Security Adviser General Jim Jones was hastily dispatched at the last minute, which online U.S.–Polish News described as a 'slap in the face.'” Image from

Arts in Embassies, U.S. Department of State - Galerie Myrtis: "Maya Freelon Assante traveled to Antananarivo, Madagascar in 2010 to install her work in the new consulate building. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE)

is a public/private partnership which plays a vital role in our nation’s public diplomacy through an expansive mission of temporary exhibitions and permanent collections, cultural exchange, and publications."

It's Graduation Time -- So What Do We Want From Universities? - Nancy Cantor, Huffington Post: "[I]t is tempting to turn for solutions directly to our newest graduates. Instead, it seems fairer really to ask their colleges and universities, how well positioned they (or as a university president, I should say 'we') are to help fix what ails?

Can we build, to borrow from our corporate friends at IBM, a 'smarter planet,' or join with our partners at JPMorgan Chase in finding 'the way forward'? When civil unrest erupts on a daily basis across the globe, will our experts in public diplomacy or the artists and humanists, who may speak a more universal language, be ready?" Image from

Judith McHale's Departure from the State Department - Philip Seib, Huffington Post: Judith McHale's departure from her position as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs presents an opportunity not only to appraise her tenure, but also to consider the future direction of U.S. public diplomacy. McHale's most valuable contribution may have been to structurally reinforce public diplomacy within the State Department. By overseeing the addition of deputy assistant secretaries responsible for public diplomacy throughout State, she took a big step toward increasing the centrality of public diplomacy in American foreign policy. ... The substance of public diplomacy can be found in cultural and educational exchanges, support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and other grass roots development. The Obama administration has taken important steps in this direction, but to have substantive effect the initial stream of programs must become a torrent. ... As Judith McHale departs, the work that she and others have contributed to this process must continue without interruption."

On Ms. Judith McHale, Written Two Year Ago
- John Brown, Notes and Essays: "As she prepares for her new job, McHale can take some comfort in the current popularity of Obama overseas. But honeymoons don't last forever, and anti-Americanism will not disappear overnight (if ever). So, if she is in fact confirmed, which appears likely, the new under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs may eventually regret having left Discovery Communications – unless she can pull off some minor miracles."

26 May 2011, Thur, SoS Clinton and Staff Schedule - A History of American Diplomacy: "US FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS JUDITH MCHALE: 10:00 a.m. Under Secretary McHale meets with Malaysian Chief Secretary Sidek, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) ... AS FOR EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS ANN STOCK: 10:00 a.m. Assistant Secretary Stock meets with the U.S. winner of the Exchanges Connect Photo Contest, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock meets with Matt Armstrong, Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, in Washington, DC. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 10:00 a.m. Assistant Secretary Stock meets with the Malaysian Chief Cabinet Secretary to discuss support for ECA-funded teaching programs in Malaysia, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)" Image from

Critics Attack VOA Decision to Cut Radio Broadcasts to China‎ - Jerome Socolovsky, Voice of America: "The decision to shut down the Voice of America's Chinese radio and TV services later this year came under heavy criticism Wednesday at a conservative Washington research institute. But a number of Western broadcasters are focusing on China's growing Internet audience. The changes were announced several months ago by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. agency in charge of government-funded foreign broadcasting, including the Voice of America. The BBG said it would shut down

VOA's Chinese radio and television broadcasts while making its Mandarin-language service available only on the Internet. Forty-five journalists, or more than half of the branch's full-time staff, will be let go. Zhang Huchen is the Mandarin service's senior editor. He was part of a panel at the conservative Heritage Foundation that criticized the planned cuts. 'If approved by the Congress, this decision will be the biggest blunder yet in the history of U.S. international broadcasting and public diplomacy,' he said. ... A spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Board of Governers, Letitia King, attended the discussion at the Heritage Foundation. 'The Broadcasting Board of Governors believes China is a vitally important audience and, in fact, is fully committed to reaching the audience there as effectively as possible, she said." Image from

At Heritage Foundation event, criticism of BBG's proposal to eliminate VOA Mandarin shortwave
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA should make better use of internet, says observer. Eliminate VOA, writes another - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Russian Senators visit NATO - otan.co: "For the first time since 2003 a group of Russian Senators paid a visit to NATO HQ and SHAPE on 23-24 May 2011. The visit was organised by the Public Diplomacy Division/NATO Information Office in Moscow."

AIPAC event draws praise for Bibi; some pan Obama - Marilyn H. Karfeld, Cleveland Jewish News: "President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu ratcheted up the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio when they spoke this week in Washington, D.C., to the annual policy conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee. ... 'Obama said what he meant to say in the speech he gave three days before the AIPAC conference,' said Yael Cohen, an Israeli who lives in Cleveland. 'Obama made a contrived visit (to the AIPAC event) to gain the Jewish vote and the Jewish money behind the vote. 'In stating publicly those things about negotiations, he knew he was sending a message of appeasement to the Palestinians and the Arab world. It was very, very anti-Israel,' said Cohen,

who praised Netanyahu’s speech.' The public diplomacy is inappropriate. It’s intricate work best left for behind closed doors and given to the public at the end of the day.'” Image from

Israeli Foreign Ministry taking battle over image online - People's Daily Online: "The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it is preparing for an all-out, online onslaught by pro- Palestinian groups in the run-up to a possible United Nations General Assembly resolution in September calling for a Palestinian state. ... Chaim Shacham, who heads the ministry's Information and Internet department, told The Marker business newspaper that there is a group overseeing ministry websites in English, Arabic, Russian, Farsi, and Hebrew. Officials are carefully monitoring what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak dubbed an approaching "diplomatic tsunami" in the autumn. ... Shacham said the ministry plans to soon launch Youtube channels in Chinese, Russian, and Spanish, as part of its public diplomacy initiative."

Our Annual Free Invitation to Visit Israel!‎ - Choire Sicha, The Awl: [Comment:] My Name is [REDACTED], I'm a student at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa Israel.

I'm a big fan of your blog http://www.theawl.com/ and I would like a few minutes of your time to tell you about the 'Once in a lifetime 2.0' project. My Fellow students and I are representing the StandWithUs fellowship, a public diplomacy leadership program that trains selected students to advocate Israel. StandWithUs is a non-profit organization which ensures that Israel is accurately portrayed and justly represented on college campuses, in the media, and in communities around the world. htp://www.standwithus.co.il/." Image from

Egypt to open Gaza border crossing at Rafah - Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN International: "Egypt will permanently open its Rafah border crossing into Gaza beginning Saturday, an Egyptian official reported Wednesday. The move provides Gazans with an open door to the outside world for the first time in four years. 'The Egyptian government decided to open the Rafah border

to (give) relief (to) the people of Gaza permanently,' said Ambassador Menha Bakhoum, head of media and public diplomacy for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. The crossing officially will remain open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Friday and public holidays. Al the country's security apparatus will be involved in the security of the border, he said." Image from article, with caption: Palestinians hold up their flag as they rally along the Rafah border.

Public warmth critical to Sino-Japanese friendship - globaltimes.cn: "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up his two-day visit to Japan Sunday, including a trip to the disaster-stricken areas. ... People's Daily Online (PO) talked to Jia Qingguo, associate dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, on these issues. ... PO: During the visit, why did Wen meet the members of the famous 1990s boy band SMAP, given Chinese leaders have rarely met with such entertainment figures before? Jia: It shows that the Chinese government attaches more and more importance to public diplomacy.

These years the Chinese government has begun to realize that although China has made a lot of progress, it could not receive positive reactions from the overseas public. However, if some problems take place in China, they are well aware of them. It is largely because that our previous diplomacy targeted the government, parties, and elite overseas more than the general public. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up offices and organizations to promote the public diplomacy. In recent years, when Chinese leaders have made visits abroad, they have often found more opportunities to hold dialogues with the country's people. We have built many Confucius Institutes in other countries, which host various activities aimed at the general public. Pop stars and other entertainers are very influential in some countries. If they feel that China is friendly to them, they will influence their fans." Jia Qingguo image from article

Indian Gastrodiplomacy to Help Feed Perceptions of an Emergent India - Paul Rockower, The Truth ........There is no god higher than truth: "As an emergent India is asserting itself within the ever-evolving global power dynamic, India is having a vibrant discussion about public diplomacy and nation-branding, and how to engage in channels of public diplomacy as a means to project its emergence; now is the perfect time for India to start cooking up

a gastrodiplomacy campaign. Public diplomacy works to communicate culture and values to foreign publics; gastrodiplomacy uses culinary delights to appeal to global appetites, and thus helps raise a nation's brand awareness and reputation." Image from article

Japan’s involuntary re-branding - A. Shibly, Nation-Branding: "Admiration over the years for Japan’s law-and-order society, its efficiency, and its high-quality standards was overshadowed by a pre-earthquake Toyota auto recall, and by public consciousness over Japan’s whale hunts. ... Widely-viewed public relations debacles

over anachronistic fishing practices can be traced even further back to the 2009 release of the movie The Cove. Rather than showcasing automotive or high-speed train technology, the movie featured more anachronistic locals embarrassing their country by slaughtering dolphins until the waters turned red. For the second time, a local niche market for exotic seafood caused a worldwide public diplomacy disaster for brand Japan." Image from article

Georgia: Two Deaths Mark Independence Day Protest - eurasianet.org: "The deaths of a police officer and a demonstrator amid the break-up of a Tbilisi street protest on May 26 have opened a grim, new chapter Georgia’s political struggle between the government and its critics. ... The demonstration was organized by former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze,

who is now one of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s most outspoken critics. ... In his official Independence Day speech, President Mikheil Saakashvili implied that Russia was involved in the ill-fated demonstration organized by Burjanadze – an impression fed by Burjanadze’s post-war 'public diplomacy' trips to Moscow for meetings with Russian leaders. 'These people, these political leaders with their small groups, wanted to raise a hand against Georgian democracy,' Saakashvili said in his speech in reference to the past five days of opposition protests in Tbilisi. 'Instead of wanting freedom of speech, they, in fact, want violence.'” Image from article, with caption: Protesters gather early in the evening to listen to opposition leaders call for the resignation of the Georgian president.

This year's budget for RT (Russia Today) is 11.4 billion rubles ($401 million) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RT. Did it again - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "[A]s a major public diplomacy operation, [the] lack of RT's perceived credibility is a major issue

for Russia ... as it is inevitably associated - quite naturally - with the sponsoring country. ... Then, there is also the problem of the implied assumption that by raising ... issues about the U.S., RT can somehow exonerate the horrid situation in Russia or, with its magic wand, advance Russia's public diplomacy interests." Image from

For Australia Network, will less footy attract a larger "target" audience? (updated: cricket, too) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Theory and Public Diplomacy: Branding Canada - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: Evan Potter’s Branding Canada ... [is] one of the few book length studies of an [sic] country’s public diplomacy and it’s particularly valuable because that country isn’t the US. ... Potter’s recommendations will be familiar – the development of a comprehensive public diplomacy strategy and organizations that can coordinate the full range of activities."

Foreign Office film: See Britain through my eyes edf.org.uk: "‘See Britain through my eyes’ is a short film from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in support of the 2012 Public Diplomacy Campaign.

In the film, launched on 25 May 2011, playwright, novelist and commentator Bonnie Greer talks about uncovering her true heritage at the British Museum." Image from British Council on See Britain through my eyes

The UK and the US: the essentials of remaining essential - Clayton M. McCleskey, Dallas Morning News: "It's important that Washington does its part by recognizing Britain's importance and investing in its relationships with allies like the UK. In a recent interview, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes told me that outreach to Europe remains important, 'You have to cultivate those ties of friendship. You can't take them for granted.'"

Swedish foreign minister uses Twitter to contact Bahraini counterpart‎ - Victoria Ward - Telegraph.co.uk - "Matthias Lufkens, the associate director for media at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, has monitored Twitter diplomacy since last year, using the website http://www.doesfollow.com. He said that of the 62 world leaders from 49 countries that use Twitter, only 25 mutually follow at least one other leader. 'This is a new development in making political connections,' he said. 'With just a click, they are all connected. ['] ... Mr Lufkens

added: 'I haven't seen any political leader who has any clear clue of who they should follow. It's all very haphazard and inconsistent. But I definitely think that they will increasingly use it to conduct administrative conversations as well as public diplomacy.'" Lufkens image from

Meet ACI-NA’s New ‘Green’ Advocate - Katherine Preston, aci-na.org: "Happy Thursday everyone! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all of the ACI-NA members, especially those who sit on the Environmental Affairs Committee. I have returned for my second week on the job as the Director of Environmental Affairs, after (thankfully) having survived the first week! ... Before I came to D.C., I worked with the Florida House of Representatives, a small government affairs firm in Tallahassee, and completed a public diplomacy internship with the U.S. State Department in Leipzig, Germany. I currently reside with my husband and two dogs in Columbia Heights area of Washington."

More Motion For My Morning - Colin Brayton, The New World Lusophone Sousaphone: "I faithfully record corporate actions, corporate finance news, M&A items, and other sorts of tidbit coveted by the inscrutable Customer. In the M&A area, at any rate, what would be really wild to do — and I think my client could even introduce it on his site fairly easily — would be something like the following:

in this case, we have a bibliographical timeline of publications on public diplomacy,' open to an article by a woman I plan to write a note abou't later, titled 'A Missionária'. The point is that any temporal process benefits from being shifted from one dimension to the other — to the spatial." Image from article


A New Milestone for America - John Hamre, Layalina Productions: "When I meet with Americans who continue to rejoice in the demise of bin Laden I remind them that the Arab spring is largely unaffected by America’s rhetoric or preferences. Bin Laden was no longer an inspiration to average citizens.

But America is not seen as terribly inspirational either. Our sweeping rhetoric about 'democracy' falls flat in Arab ears, who see this more as American self-promotion, and a not-so-veiled push for American cultural interests rather than fundamental political values. Yet the Arab spring is a profound opportunity, largely for Arabs, but also for America." Hamre image from article

Regime Appoints New Deputy Minister of Propaganda - Lee Cary, American Thinker: Actually, Jesse Lee's new title is Director of Progressive Media & Online Response in the White House Communication Department, working under Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Here's how Sam Stein, a self-described personal friend, defines Lee's new job in the White House: "The post is a new one for this White House. Rapid response has been the purview of the Democratic National Committee (and will continue to be). Lee's hire, however, suggests that a portion of it will now be handled from within the administration. It also signals that the White House will be adopting a more aggressive engagement in the online world in the months ahead. And, just to communicate his impending style of responding, Jesse posted this photo

in his initial tweet. See also. Image from article

Why Are Spy Researchers Building a 'Metaphor Program'? - Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic: A small research arm of the U.S. government's intelligence establishment wants to understand how speakers of Farsi, Russian, English, and Spanish see the world by building software that automatically evaluates their use of metaphors. That's right, metaphors, like Shakespeare's famous line, "All the world's a stage," or more subtly, "The darkness pressed in on all sides." Every speaker in every language in the world uses them effortlessly, and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity wants know how what we say reflects our worldviews. They call it The Metaphor Program, and it is a unique effort within the government to probe how a people's language reveals their mindset. Via PR

Berlusconi casts doubt on death of Gadhafi son - Premier Silvio Berlusconi has cast doubt on Libyan reports that Moammar Gadhafi's youngest son and three grandchildren were killed in an April 30 NATO airstrike, saying coalition forces believe the claim to be "propaganda." Berlusconi

told a late-night talk show Wednesday that based on intelligence services, Seif al-Arab wasn't in Libya and is rather in another country. He didn't elaborate. NATO has never confirmed or denied the death. Image from

The “sunken voices” of China - David Bandurski, China Media Project: In the past month, the People’s Daily has run a series of five editorials from the “editorial desk” dealing with so-called “social mentality” or shehui xintai (社会心态) in China. Against the backdrop of tightening controls on the press and a more aggressive attitude toward prominent academics and dissidents — to say nothing of the paper’s typical stiffness — the editorials have puzzled some with their more broad-minded positions. Others have dismissed them as propaganda smoke screens, affecting candor to throw observers for a loop. Even relative insiders who generally know how to read the signs have scratched their heads. After reading the fifth and final editorial in the series today, the Chinese user “freemoren” wrote on Twitter: “People’s Daily editorial desk: Leaders Must Listen Attentively to Those ‘Sunken Voices’ . . . Doesn’t the People’s Daily seem not to be itself lately? What’s up with Comrade Li Changchun?” Li Changchun (李长春), of course, is the fifth-ranking member of the politburo standing committee and China’s de facto propaganda chief. He’s the man who steers China’s message, so the implication by “freemoren” is that these unorthodox editorials somehow suggest the propaganda regime itself is in turmoil. That’s unlikely.

Propaganda for "Justice": Flattering the State on Libya and Bin Laden‎ - Anthony DiMaggio, truth-out.org: The following generalizations help in terms of making sense of the nature of mass media bias: 1) American journalists are thoroughly reliant on official sources, to the near or total exclusion of dissident sources that provide moral or substantive challenges

to US foreign policy; 2) Closely related to the first point - to the extent that there are "criticisms" or "challenges" to government actions and policies, they are reliant upon the views already being expressed by political and business elites. In other words, if business and political leaders want to put forward a criticism of government, that criticism will receive heavy play among journalists. If these same officials choose to ignore a given criticism, it will essentially remain a non-issue in reporting and media commentary. Image from

The Army gives you superpowers! The Pentagon has long used movies as a recruiting tool but its new X-Men campaign is dangerously hypocritical - David Sirota, Salon: The new military ad campaign covered by the Times is a campaign that both visually and literally suggests that joining the military is like joining the X-Men.

One part of the Pentagon is employing every media instrument available -- Twitter, Facebook, TV commercials, movies, etc. -- to tell America that becoming a soldier gets enlistees immortal superpowers that will keep them safe on the battlefield. At the same time, another part of the Pentagon is employing its considerable influence over that same media world to try to prevent the blood-soaked truth of the battlefield from ever being seen. Image from article


"In her insightful Outlook commentary ['It’s a sex crime, not a sex scandal,' May 22], Juliet A. Williams criticized our hyper-feminist tendency to assume that all instances of male sexual misbehavior — be it martial infidelity [sic], in the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, or an alleged sexual assault, in the case of the former IMF director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, are morally the same. Criminality counts, and adultery, however painful for the 'victim,' is simply not the same as attempted rape, she argued.

But her argument should be taken one step further. In adultery,

the consenting third party is also morally implicated in the act and its effects. Male 'sexism' undoubtedly exists, but when a heterosexual husband philanders, it invariably means that one woman has freely betrayed another. Adultery’s not about sexism but about human deception and frailty, which neither gender has a monopoly on."

--Stewart J. Lawrence, Bethesda, "Sexism aside, adultery is about human weakness," letter to the editor, Washington Post; image from