Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12


"Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces."

--Henry David Thoreau; image from

Propaganda, Persuasion and Deception: Over 1,120 Selected Quotations for the Ideological Skeptic ISBN 0-9761337-0-9 Compiled by Laird Wilcox http://www.lairdwilcox.com/ (2005)


Art of trash: Discarded wrappers show how nations link globally - ibnlive.in.com: "Michael Pelletier, Minister for Public Affairs and Public diplomacy, US Embassy says 'We generally tend to look for any opportunity, particularly art,

that highlight India and US working together where they emphasise a sort of cooperation or partnership between the two.'" Image from

Singapore's Art Soft Power - Eddie Walsh, The Diplomat: "[E]xperts remain hopeful that more ASEAN countries will someday recognize the economic and diplomatic value of contemporary art. Some even believe this could lead to new investments, such as the promotion of national contemporary artists abroad through formally organized ASEAN

travelling exhibitions or coordinated embassy programmes (perhaps modelled after the US State Department’s Art in Embassies Programme). There are reasons to be optimistic that such developments are possible. Observers point out that some ASEAN members already make significant investments in the promotion of traditional arts through cultural public diplomacy, such as Indonesia’s ongoing American Batik Competition. However, there isn’t equivalent awareness of the potential for contemporary art within the ASEAN diplomatic community." Image from

USAID mobile news project will help Afghan media compete more effectively with US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

CNN reports on Voice of Russia to the USA. And VOA to Russia. And is that *the* Angela Davis? (updated: apparently not) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

EU 'failing' on Twitter - Alex Sagi, New Europe: "More than 750 million people have a Facebook account and more than 200 million people use Twitter, but the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS) has only 4,132 followers on Twitter and 1,774 ‘likes’ on Facebook. The EEAS, the EU’s main foreign policy group, has all the presence of an ant on social media compared to Barrack Obama, who has more than 9 million Twitter followers. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has more than 100,000 followers, while almost 36,000 people follow Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. The

EEAS has even less social-media power than the Public Diplomacy Division of Ministry of External Affairs, India, which has more than 12,000 followers. Megan Kenna of the European Policy Centre (EPC) wrote an analysis of EU social media, saying the EU fails to engage social media users. ... Social media has become an important tool in today’s political world, Menna wrote. President Obama ran a campaign that took full advantage of social media, and people used social networks to launch successful revolutions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). ... The EU can more clearly express its role in the MENA region by increasing its public diplomacy through social media tools within the EEAS and the EU Delegations."  Image from

UN deserves no immunity: ‎Ruling on UN failure in Srebrenica genocide should be of great interest to Israel - Manfred Gerstenfeld, Ynetnews: "Many Israeli politicians and the Israeli media give little attention to events in Europe. Yet analyzing them can contribute greatly to Israel’s public diplomacy. Understanding how other countries as well as the UN function during emergencies helps to put frequently exaggerated external and internal condemnations of Israel’s performance into perspective, even if lesser criticism is in place."

Hockey as 'hasbara'? Canadian media mogul Sidney Greenberg was just awarded for his contributions to the local film industry but he has set his sights on using sports as public diplomacy for Israel - Melanie Lidman, Jerusalem Post: "In addition to being a generous benefactor of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, his [Greenberg's] real passion is encouraging the use of sports as public diplomacy for Israel across the world. He

was the head of Maccabi Canada from 1985 to 1993 and a board member of the Canadian Olympic Committee from 1983 to 2003. He organized the first Russian delegation to the Maccabi Games in 1989, with 100 athletes, and was responsible for forming Maccabi Russia. ... He envisions hockey as a hasbara (public diplomacy) powerhouse."  Uncaptioned image from article

Getting Serious On Syria?‎ - John Tabin, American Spectator: "On Sunday, in response to an anti-American demonstration on Saturday, Ambassador [Robert] Ford issued a statement on the Embassy's Facebook page rebuking the regime for allowing pro-Assad protestors to throw rocks at the US Embassy while 'beating and shooting peaceful demonstrators' who oppose the regime. ... Hillary Clinton finally -- finally -- dropped the pretense that Assad is going to lead a real reform: 'From our perspective, he has lost legitimacy,' she said, marking the first time the United States has called into question the validity of the Syrian president. Syrian officials would be mistaken, she said, in concluding that repeated U.S. calls for democratic reforms in Syria signaled a desire to see Assad continue his rule - a conclusion many Syrians have reached. 'President Assad is not indispensable, and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power,' she told reporters at the State Department. This comes a bit late -- the French and Israelis declared Assad's rule illegitimate more than a month ago -- and the fact that it comes only after an attack on the embassy, and not just as a response to the numerous attacks on protestors, will blunt the public diplomacy impact somewhat. Nonetheless, it's a welcome step. But if the Obama administration really wants to get serious, there are a lot more steps to take."

China 'buying up Europe' claims study - Daniel Mason, publicserviceeurope.com: "China is 'buying up Europe' by purchasing government debts, investing in European companies and taking advantage of the open market for public procurement – but despite the immediate benefits there could be damaging longer-term effects, a new study claims.

In a paper for the European Council on Foreign Relations, François Godement and Jonas Parello-Plesner argue that China should not be blamed for taking advantage of the opportunities Europe presents. ... The report describes how China's 'automobile manufacturers have bought MG and Volvo and taken a life-saving stake in Saab. Its transportation firms are acquiring, leasing or managing harbours, airports, and logistical and assembly bases across the continent. Its development bank is financing projects in Europe's periphery much like it does in Africa. Its purchases of public debt are anxiously sought by deficit-ridden EU member states. In fact, it uses the prospect of these bond purchases as part of its own public diplomacy'". Image from article

China’s mid-east policy inches towards support for Palestinians - "China expressed its support Tuesday of Palestinian membership in the United Nations. The statement was made by the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi during a meeting in Beijing with a Palestinian delegation . ... While always taking into account the significance of public diplomacy and perceptions, Chinese leaders

treat bilateral exchanges with their Palestinian counterparts as major diplomatic events on par with other high-level state-to-state visits. Image from

More on Olympic Public Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I’ve just spotted that the government put out its response to the House of Commons Select Com[m]ittee on Foreign Affairs report on Olympic and Paralympic Public Diplomacy back at the beginning of May."

Rodeo Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The Calgary Stampede is going to Beijing in October. This PD cowboy thinks it is a brilliant bit of cultural diplomacy. Too bad it ain't Texas doing it.

I'm sure there will be some country music diplomacy to boot. Great way for a little place branding for Calgary."  Image from

viagogo Interview and more FSOT - MCD, Integral Parts (Adventures in Mathematics): "[F]inished my registration for the Foreign Service Officer test today. I ended up choosing the Economic cone because Public Diplomacy is very competitive."


Obama’s Bush-League World: Is the Obama National Security Team a Pilotless Drone? - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: The Bush administration’s most extreme ideas when it comes to GWOT are now the humdrum norm of Obama administration policies -- and hardly anyone thinks it’s worth a comment.

Taliban Propaganda Win: Afghan President's Brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai - Assassinated - blasphemes.blogspot.com: The half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been assassinated in Kandahar, officials say. Ahmad Wali Karzai, a leading power broker in the country's south, was shot dead at his home in a blow to Nato's battle against the Taliban in the area.

Taliban Propaganda Watch 112305UTC Jul 11 - MILNEWS.ca Blog

A measured U.S. response in Syria: The Obama administration has resisted calls for it to push strongly for Bashar Assad's ouster. Instead, it is essentially trying to help arrange a slow unraveling of the Syrian regime rather than an abrupt collapse - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: The United States essentially is trying to help arrange a slow unraveling of the Syrian regime rather than an abrupt collapse.

In that sense, Syria is very different from Tunisia or Egypt, where the Obama administration endorsed revolutions that were already well under way, or Libya, where it has backed an armed uprising that started without U.S. help. Image from article, with caption: A Syrian man living in Jordan, whose face is painted like the Syrian national flag, shouts slogans against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad during a demonstration in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman July 7, 2011.

Koolhaas, Delirious in Beijing - Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times: Aside from the new World Trade Center, it’s hard to think of a more contentious architectural project in the last few years than the CCTV building,

the headquarters of China Central Television here. After Rem Koolhaas, the project’s architect, unveiled the design in 2003 he was pilloried by Western journalists for glorifying a propaganda organ of the Chinese government. Several years later a fire at the site nearly burned down a neighboring building, also designed by Mr. Koolhaas, landing the director of the project and 19 others in prison for negligence and significantly delaying construction. And then there’s something about the building’s appearance that seems to unsettle people. Just when things got back on track after the fire, a Chinese critic published an article saying that the building’s contorted form, which frames an enormous void at its center, was modeled on a pornographic image of a naked woman on her hands and knees. The piece ignited a storm of negative press, forcing Mr. Koolhaas to issue a denial. Image from article

China 'cheats' box office for propaganda epic: ‎When the Chinese Communist party released its latest propaganda blockbuster to celebrate its 90th birthday, the film duly went to the top of the box office. But now it appears that cinemas were secretly welshing their sales in order to save face - Malcolm Moore, Telegraph.co.uk: Beginning of a Great Revival: The Founding of a Party casts over 150 Chinese stars,

including Hollywood star Chow Yun-fat, in a two-hour retelling of how China's first Communists, including a young Mao Tse-tung, came together to change a country humiliated by foreign powers and riddled with corruption under its Nationalist government. after the film was released in mid June, it quickly became apparent that the general public had little appetite for yet more Communist party lore. Some cinemas were reported to be empty and a barrage of negative reviews were quickly censored from the internet. Image, with caption: The film stars Chow Yun-fat

Before his defection, the North Korean artist made propaganda for the Kim regime - Sebastian Strangio, globalpost.com: At first glance, it looks like a painting of the actress Marilyn Monroe, striking her iconic pose above a subway grate. Above the ballooning dress, however, sits the face of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il, wearing his trademark dark sunglasses and grinning wildly. A group of gold fish swim about the figure’s feet. The comical work was unveiled in Seoul earlier this year as part of “Forever Freedom,”

the debut exhibition by the North Korean artist Song Byeok, who defected to the South in 2002. Before defecting, Song cut his artistic teeth painting propaganda for Kim’s regime, turning out grinning portraits of founding father Kim Il Sung and technicolor depictions of militant workers and peasants. Since arriving in South Korea, however, he has turned his talents against the repressive regime and its diminutive leader.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just to clear up any confusion about "Rodeo Diplomacy:" The Calgary Stampede is not involved in the effort to bring rodeo to China. A U.S.-based group called Rodeo China, led by Richard Tucker, has been working with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for nearly a year to make the event possible and to showcase "The Culture of the American West" in China. Rest assured there will plenty of great American country music and educational and cultural exchange with participants from 4-H clubs, the Future Farmers of America, and Little Britches Rodeo Association. Complete info at the web site: http://www.rodeochina.com/