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, "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 - "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 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://" 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 - "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 - "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 "‘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 - - "Matthias Lufkens, the associate director for media at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, has monitored Twitter diplomacy since last year, using the website 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, "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, 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

1 comment: said...

Very effective material, thank you for this post.