Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

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On 9/11 Anniversary, Obama Administration Has Conflicting Messages - Helle Dale, "The Obama Administration has been seeking advice on how to calibrate its messaging on the 10th anniversary of September 11, conscious of how it may play in the media both domestically and internationally. The conclusion that seems to have been reached by the White House speechwriters is that prudence calls for two different messages, one domestic and one foreign. Now, most politicians speak differently depending on whether their audience is domestic or foreign, but those who speak from conviction do not speak from both sides of their mouths. This momentous anniversary is an occasion for U.S. public diplomacy to project a clear message to the world that Americans have suffered but remained strong in the years that followed the tragedy. This would not preclude an appropriate recognition of the suffering and loss inflicted by terrorists on citizens of many other nations—including Muslims, by the way—nor a commitment to future cooperation. According to Alexis Crow of the British think tank Chatham House, the White House has been sending out two different messages, one for domestic audiences and one for its overseas allies:['] The first message is aimed at rallying political support, and is likely to tout the killing of Osama bin Laden as an operational victory in the midst of a larger strategic campaign. The second message emphasizes that the anniversary of 9/11 is—according to one official—'not just about us.' The Obama administration seeks to transmit what it calls a 'positive, forward-looking narrative' to its allies.['] In the information age—when we can all follow each other’s media and read each other’s Web sites—it does not seem to be a winning idea to bifurcate your messaging.

Americans and the world will be watching President Obama on Sunday as he visits the three sites of the terrorist attacks and in the evening delivers his commemorative speech at the National Cathedral in Washington. His message should be seamless, compassionate, respectful, and strong." Image from

Natural Allies move closer - Aid Waheed, "Pakistan has emerged as the most important country in the present world politics with growing interests of world in the Asian region. Pakistan forms a natural bridge for any economic activity between this region and the outer world. Any strategy for this region cannot move forward without addressing the concerns of Pakistan. Today this region passes through fog of psychological warfare. It has become difficult to differentiate between friend and foe. ... The intimate cooperation between Pakistan and United States Intelligence agencies has resulted into prevention of number of high profile terrorist acts not only inside Pakistan/United States but also elsewhere in world. In an interview with VOA, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter acknowledges that the bin Laden raid was a setback for bilateral ties. ... The unclassified white house report 'Report on Afghanistan and Pakistan' pub in Mar, 2011 surfaced on White house website which describes how collation partners should think on different subjects relating to War on Terror (WOT). It is equally important for the common Pakistani and American to know the common perception on both sides. The main quotes of the report say, 'Pakistan is central to our efforts to defeat Al Qaida and prevent its return in the region. We seek to secure these interests through continued, robust counter terrorism and counter insurgency cooperation and long term partnership anchored by our improved understanding of Pakistan’s

strategic priorities, increased civilian and military assistance and expand public diplomacy'. ... The conflicting US policies by Pentagon, CIA, and White House have failed to come up with any solution for the ongoing war in Afghanistan for last nine years. Solution lies in looking inwards and not in blame games, more accommodation and understanding of others national interests." Image from

Border Security After 9/11: Ten Years of Waste, Immigrant Crackdowns and New Drug Wars - Tom Barry, Truthout: "The post-9/11 imperative of securing 'the homeland' set off a widely played game of one-upmanship that has had Washington, border politicians and sheriffs, political activists and vigilantes competing to be regarded as the most serious and hawkish on border security. The emotions and concerns unleashed by the 9/11 attacks exacerbated the long-running practice of using the border security issue to further an array of political agendas - immigration crackdowns, border pork-barrel projects, drug wars, states' rights and even liberal immigration reform. Yet these new commitments to control the border have been largely expressions of public diplomacy rather than manifestations of new thinking about the border. In his groundbreaking 2001 study of border enforcement, 'Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide,' border scholar Peter Andreas rightly observed that border policing has 'some of the features of a ritualized spectator sport,' noting that the game metaphor reflects the 'performance and audience-driven nature' of the politics of border control.

As the politics of border security in Texas and Arizona so well illustrate, 'secure the border' is a rallying cry that energizes constituencies, catapults politicians to office and produces a steady stream of Fox News appearances for prominent border security hawks. It also diverts the debate over border policies far away from any reflective discussion of the structural causative factors producing the border crisis." Image from article, with caption: People crossing the Paso del Norte bridge linking Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, on January 28, 2011.

On 9/11 anniversary, detractors accuse US international broadcasting of "self-flagellation" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Joe Nye at the School of Int'l Service, American U - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "I found it interesting that Nye specifically pointed out that in the U.S. power is still overwhelmingly thought of in traditional (i.e. Realist) terms. John Mearsheimer had suggested that the American public is averse to Realpolitik and the discourse surrounding it, and that is why policymakers - among whom Realism is actually quite alive and kicking - often tend to cloak their actions in liberal rhetoric.

That was Mearsheimer ten years ago and quite obviously a lot has changed since, both in U.S. foreign policy as well as in domestic public discourse: both seem to have become much more Realist, despite the increasing realization of the significance of the so-called 'Soft Power' dimension. I'm curious to see if the American public sentiment will stick to this trend (or rather, dare I say, will keep reacting to all the rhetoric from certain political circles), creating yet another intellectual/practitioner divide over theoretical analysis that is perpetually trying to chase reality. Most of all, I'm curious to see how it affects American public diplomacy." Nye image from article

Israel and Turkey‎ - Yavuz Baydar, Today's Zaman: "It is true that the new [Turkish] ruling party initially had problems with credibility, due to a lack of proper public diplomacy at the international level, the core of the Israeli state, in alliance with a powerful lobby in the US, chose to undermine it, using every opportunity to describe the AK Party as a dangerous one, with a hidden political agenda. It hoped to maintain the 'old Turkey,' a solely military actor, with which they traded arms and enjoyed intelligence cooperation. This proved to be a huge underestimation of the rationality of the (then new) Turkish political leadership, as well as the strength of the popular support it enjoys. The vicious path Israel chose succeeded to a great extent; with the help of the media, it kept Turkish-Israeli relations on a razor’s edge. And only a few made the point that this Israeli 'strategy' was no strategy, that such a clear demonstration of the Turkish people’s should not be discounted, and that such behavior was counterproductive, destructive. Nonetheless the two allies managed to remain on a reasonable track, until -- as Gideon Levy in Haaretz correctly put it the other day -- 'The decline in our relationship became Operation Cast Lead.'” Below image from

Israel will lose by 'winning': ‎After last year's aid flotilla massacre, Israel wrongly believed it could continue operating under a 'legal umbrella' - Taha Ozhan, "The 'top secret' UN report on Mavi Marmara was leaked by the New York Times the day prior to its official release. Whether this leak happened because the UN panel had internal conflict in adopting the report or it was simply aimed at aiding the pro-Israeli propaganda is uncertain. In any case, the usual Israeli public diplomacy machinery undertook a full-court press as soon as the text made it to the public. The Palmer Report didn't satisfy Turkey as was expected. In contrast, as the Israeli representative Itzhar noted in the appendix, the report 'satisfied to a great extent the expectations of Israel'. ... Israel is having a difficult time in considering the Palmer report from the perspective of the Flotilla massacre or the deep impact the massacre

had on its relations with Turkey. ... As long as it [Israel] is committed to the old order and remains torn in an existential dilemma, it will be Israel not Turkey who will be the one to worry in a rapidly transforming region." Image from article, with caption: Unlike Turkey, Israel has not grasped the massive regional changes inspired by the Arab Spring [AFP]

Canada and the world post-9/11: What has been learned - Daryl Copeland, "Under the Conservatives the foreign ministry (DFAIT) does not appear to enjoy the confidence, trust and respect which it once did. Once a leader in public diplomacy, the imposition of the – chillingly Orwellian – Message Event Proposal requirement means that the department’s staff cannot have an unscripted conversation outside the Pearson building and are now effectively gagged. There seems to be little appetite for the Department’s advice, and it is not being called upon to develop new international policy initiatives. All of this may well have contributed to Canada’s shocking failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council."

Web changing diplomacy, global governance: Experts - "The internet is transforming public diplomacy around the world and has spurred popular involvement in key global issues such as accountable governance, climate change and terrorism, say experts and diplomats. A two-day conference on 'The Internet and a Changing World', held at the Sonepat-based Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), highlighted the increasing use and effectiveness of worldwide web in advancing discourse on a range of issues. Cyber experts, policymakers, academics and diplomats participated in the conference which ended Saturday. The JSIA, the Tokyo-based United Nations University (UNU) and the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) jointly organised the conference with support of the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 'The Internet and especially Web 2.0 have brought a new dimension to diplomacy,' said Navdeep Suri, joint secretary in charge of Public Diplomacy Division.

'The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs has actively embraced Web 2.0 tools so that it can engage with the widest cross-section of people in India and the around the world. We have also found social media a powerful medium to expand our outreach amongst younger audiences,' he said, while alluding to the increasing use of new social media, including Facebook and YouTube, to project India's stance on global issues." Image from

The King’s advisor participates in an important strategic Conference in Geneva, Switzerland - Bahrain News Agency: "The King's Advisor for Public Diplomacy – also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bahrain Center for Strategic and International and Energy Studies Dr. Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar

participated in the 5th Review Conference of the Global Strategy, which began on Thursday, September 8th 201 in Geneva, Switzerland, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The conference is attended by a number of experts and global strategists . ... The King’s Advisor for Public Diplomacy - Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bahrain Center for Strategic and International and Energy Studies - Dr. Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar said that his participation in this important conference partly comes in view of the regional and international variables which produced a new global reality and accelerated events." Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar image from article

Secret US Embassy Diplomatic Cable Says LTTE Blocked Civilians Leaving Battle Zone - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "The classified diplomatic cable sent from the American embassy in Sri Lanka under the signature of Ambassador Robert Blake to Washington state department dated 19 March 2009 very clearly said that the Tamil Tigers had refused to listen to Norway and other international community nations’ appeals to allow civilians to leave the battle zone 'instead it has shot civilians who have tried to escape, and engaged in forcible recruitment of progressively younger and older civilians to augment its diminishing cadre.' ... With the total demise of Tamil Tigers a section of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is seen actively engaged in reviving its leader Prabhakaran’s dream of a separate/independent eelam state in the north and east of Sri Lanka in getting a section of the international community nations and international rights organizations to tighten the noose on Sri Lanka on alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). The Tamil-Diaspora funding stage has now entered the public diplomacy/strategic communication stage, a scenario Sri Lanka is still unable to internationally combat. The Robert Blake-signed diplomatic cable was clearly accusing the LTTE for the plight of the civilians who were eager to leave the battle zone and the safe zone."

God Bless America, Land That I Love! - "I wanted to share some thoughts on what happened last night (that would have been Thursday, September 8, as I am composing this on Friday, September 9). Last night, I participated in a show on the BBC called 'Question Time.' The closest analogous American show I can think of is 'Meet the Press,' except there is an audience which is expected to participate, both in raising questions and in giving response to the debate, even through applause, hissing, and booing. Frankly, I had never heard of this show before yesterday morning, but it is apparently a big deal and widely watched in Great Britain. The audience, about 150, had to request tickets months in advance. How did I get in, then? Two nights ago I was attending a concert at the Royal Albert Hall with a few of my classmates, and one of them, knowing my politics, told me he received an email from our professor asking if he would like to sit in the audience of a talk show and represent an American perspective on 9/11. ... My friend and I met with our professor to go over some possible questions. My professor, Colleen Graffy,

is a former deputy United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. ... We each had to submit a question via email to the BBC. My friend, Kyle, submitted 'Were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a catalyst for the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings we are seeing now?' The implication in this question is that perhaps President Bush’s strategy is being effective, after all. The question I submitted was, 'Is the root cause of terrorism the Israeli-Palestinian problem? And, if so, would Bin Laden have canceled his 9/11 plans if President Clinton had been successful in brokering peace in the Middle East?' I felt stupid proposing such a juvenile, naïve premise, but the theory has been tossed around, especially immediately after 9/11." Gaffy image (left) from

CULTURAL DIPLOMACY (August 23 - September 11)

Building cultural ties, note by note‎ - News@Northeastern: "Anthony De Ritis, chair of Northeastern’s music department, is spending the next four months as a Fulbright Scholar in Beijing, where he is developing an interactive multimedia database on traditional Chinese instruments for Western composers. ... De Ritis considers his work to be a type of 'cultural diplomacy,' in which members of different cultures work together toward a common goal, building relationships that can carry over into other fields. He has worked with UNESCO and the U.S. State Department, and is a founding board member of a group that is building an orchestra for young musicians from Haiti and the Dominican Republic — neighboring countries with stark cultural differences — to practice and perform together.

'There’s this notion that music is a sort of ‘universal language.’ It’s not,' De Ritis said. 'What is universal is the fact that we all have ears and we are cultures that attempt to organize frequencies in some meaningful way. So music is a means of bringing people together. Any great music needs to be a dialogue. There are ways we can leverage our dialogue through music and learn what it means to communicate through music so that lessons can be learned and applied to other fields, like politics.' De Ritis hopes his research this fall in Beijing will help bridge the long-standing gap between two musical worlds that have remained largely separate through much of history. De Ritis image from article

From New York State to Nagaland, Art, Film and Hospitality Are Common Bonds - Molly Finnegan, Art beat "Spurred by curiosity, Heather Layton and Brian Bailey set off from Rochester, NY., last December to visit a place around the world about which they knew almost nothing. Nagaland is a state located in North Eastern India, bordering Myanmar (Burma). It's a tribal region which resisted British rule and then fought for independence from India. It became a recognized state of India in the 1960s, but for many decades factions of the Naga people continued to fight, sometimes violently, over issues of sovereignty. Government advisories still

warn against travel there. ... Art Beat talked to Heather Layton about cultural diplomacy and how her experience in Nagaland has informed her own work. ... [Q:] How does your connection to Nagaland continue? What are some of your future projects involving cultural diplomacy? [A:]The first really exciting thing specifically about this Nagaland-U.S. exchange, or professional program exchange of artists and creative people [is that] the government of Nagaland were very happy with the results of this last stage of the exchange, so they've invited five U.S. creative people to come back to Nagaland for the Hornbill festival, and for all different types of cultural events, in December. So Brian and I are now working on creating a team to represent the United States. We're looking for filmmakers and artists, writers, dancers." Image from article, with caption: Professors Heather Layton and Brian Bailey visit Kohima, Nagaland, 2010

The Axis of Evil – 10 years on‎ - Caroline Jaine, "Like Iran, the US has no diplomatic relations with North Korea. They have been accused of forging US bank notes and their nuclear development and testing continues to concern more than just the USA. There have been glimmers of hope – four years ago the US navy rescued a group of North Korean sailors from Somali pirates and two years ago Clinton (Bill this time) negotiated the release of two American journalists. On a more macro level, in 2009 North Korea was removed from the 'Sponsors of State Terrorism' list (yes another list for another time). Extensive Googling has not revealed a single mention of North Korea as evil or awful, however when examining US-North Korean relations, I cannot help but think of a masterful piece of cultural diplomacy – one of my favourite films – Team America."

French Studies for This Century‎ - Inside Higher Ed: "Many humanities programs -- and in particular many language programs -- have faced challenges in recent years of budget cuts and questions about their relevance. A new collection -- French Studies in and for the Twenty-First Century (Liverpool University Press) -- asserts that the field of French studies most certainly matters -- and should continue to be nurtured at top universities. The book's editors are Philippe Lane, attaché for higher education at the French Embassy in London, and Michael Worton, vice provost and the Fielden Professor of French Language and Literature at University College London. Worton responded via e-mail to questions about the book and the state of French studies. ... [Worton:] A: The rise of postcolonial studies has plateaued out. There has, however, been an important recognition that the study of metropolitan France is not the only way of studying France and its culture. Nonetheless, metropolitan French studies remains enormously important, and is becoming increasingly so as France, of all the European countries, has recently been insisting on the importance of cultural diplomacy and of 'soft power' in its external/foreign relations.

This gives particular impetus to the possibility (and the need) of putting French studies within a geo-political context as well as in a purely cultural or historical one. However, I have one slight anxiety about some of the studies of Francophone Africa, Vietnam, Quebec and elsewhere -- and that is that often the focus is very much on the 'Frenchness' of the Francophone work and insufficiently deep and detailed knowledge of the local context; this is particularly true in the case of studies of Vietnamese Francophone work, for example, and I would argue also for much African Francophone studies." Image: Cover of Prof. Warton's book, French Studies in and for the Twenty-first Century from

A nation's study girt by stormy seas‎ - Sarah-jane Collins, The Age: "The [Australian] centre's director, Kate Darian-Smith, is keen to highlight ... securing more than $5 million in competitive research funding in the past five years. Professor Darian-Smith says across the university about 800 students are undertaking Australian Centre subjects, with many taking advantage of the 'breadth' requirements of the Melbourne model degrees. '[That is] an outstanding record among humanities research centres,' she says. 'In 2010 the Australian Centre was the recipient of the only two prestigious Australian Research Council future fellowships awarded in the humanities at the University of Melbourne.' Earlier this year when Julia Gillard [not identified in article] was in China,

she established a chair in Australian studies at Beijing University. That is an example of how Australians studies outside Australia works as cultural diplomacy and has a really key role." Image from article, with caption: Director Kate Darian-Smith says the Australian Centre pursues new ways to engage with Australian society and culture

Ukraine's Ambassador to Iran: "Book is the essence of humanity" - "A book fair opened on Saturday evening in the National Library and Archives of Iran (NLAI) on the occasion of Ukraine's 20th independence anniversary. During the opening ceremony Ukraine's Ambassador

to Iran said that book is the basis and essence of humanity and depicts the veiled aspects of civilization. ... Director of National Library and Archives [Ishagh Salahi] of Iran said that that 20th century is the century in which cultural diplomacy is prevailing politics. In order to fulfill the goal during the past century, Iran established its National Library and today the organization is proud to hold a fair for Ukraine's National Day." Image from article

Petrie launches £25000 Egypt partnership‎ - Geraldine Kendall, Museums Association: "Effective Collections grant helps Petrie Museum to launch cultural diplomacy project [registration required to read article]

Image from article

Martonyi says new Hungarian foreign policy strategy on way‎ - MTI, "The Foreign Ministry will finish drafting Hungary’s foreign policy strategy within the next 1-2 months, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told a meeting in Budapest of Hungarian diplomats stationed abroad. The ministry is also drafting comprehensive legislation aimed at enhancing cooperation in the areas of foreign affairs, economic and cultural diplomacy, he said."

Jonathan Mills: Festival showed Scots culture in rude health - Jonathan Mills, "The International Festival exists to bring to Scotland's capital artists and work that other organisations cannot easily achieve. Our job is to present arts of the highest possible international standard to the widest possible audience, to offer an international showcase for the best of Scottish culture and to reflect international culture to audiences from Scotland, the rest of the UK and the world. I believe that this year's Festival has indeed succeeded in these aims. You only have to look at the response to Scottish Ballet's new commission, made possible by the Scottish Government's Expo Fund and featuring the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, or the extraordinary critical acclaim for performances by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to see that Scottish culture is in rude health. It is in the arena of international relations, cultural diplomacy and the building of bridges between nations through the arts that the Festival can play a crucial role throughout the UK. ... Jonathan Mills is Edinburgh International Festival director."

Festivals hailed but rail links ‘could be better’ - {Registration]: "Fiona Hyslop praised the unified working of the festivals in Edinburgh as she enjoyed the best of the season in her first year as a Cabinet Secretary for Culture.

While noting that the train service between Glasgow and Edinburgh – the source of many complaints this festival season –- could be 'improved', Ms Hyslop yesterday provided The Herald with an intimate view of her packed festivals schedule, perhaps the busiest of any Scottish arts minister." Image from article, with caption: Making her point: Fiona Hyslop has visited shows including David Mach’s exhibition at the City Arts Centre.

Oneupweb: Speaking a Foreign Language‎ - StraightUpSearch: "The art of computer programming has a surprisingly strong resemblance to cross-cultural diplomacy.

Not only must the computer understand your program, but the people who will come along later and maintain it will also need to be able to interpret your dialect." Image from article

Couscous and Cultural Diplomacy - "Andrea Wenzel takes us to Elkader, Iowa — a town named after a 19th century Algerian jihadist — and home to an Algerian-American restaurant run by a gay couple. Elkader, Iowa (population 1,500) is a town with an unusual namesake — American settlers named it after the Algerian jihadist and anti-colonialism fighter Abd al-Qader in 1846. This story charts the efforts of an openly gay Algerian man and his partner

as they create an Algerian-American restaurant on Main Street—and wrestle with cultural adaptation, American identity, and small town politics." Image from, with caption: Schera's Restaurant and Bar, Elkader, Iowa

PATA [Pacific Asia Travel Association] appoints Martin Craigs as new chief - "PATA interim chief executive, Bill Calderwood said: 'Martin understands the travel industry and with his long AFA experience he understands associations and the importance of membership.'

Calderwood added: 'Martin also brings visionary leadership, outstanding public speaking skills, strong inter-cultural diplomacy and advocacy expertise to the helm at PATA. He is the right person to lead PATA as the association commits to an exciting future of building business and advocacy on behalf of our members.' Image from article


And Hate Begat Hate - Ahmed Rashid, Mew York Times: After 10 years, it should be clear that the wars in this region cannot be won purely by military force, nor should policy making be left to the generals.

The questions about who hates whom will become only more difficult to resolve until the warfare ends and national healing begins. Image, with caption: Pakistanis protest the killing of Osama bin Laden

Propaganda Roundup. 9/11 Edition - The Propagandist was founded partly in response to what happened after the 9/11 attacks. As the years passed, 9/11 truthers only got more bold in their perverse efforts to pin the

blame for the attacks on the US government. The ludicrous accusation that Western societies brought this on themselves through their foreign policy has become mainstream. It whitewashes decades of international jihadist terror and centuries of tyranny and imperialism by religious fanatics. Image from blog

Does America Have a Future? [Review of That Use To Be US: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back By Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum] - David Frum, New York Times: The book is more a demonstration than an argument: The situation isn’t hopeless! Success is possible! See here and here and here and here.

From our archives, 75 years ago - The date of Sept. 11 did not have the symbolism in 1936 it has for us today. Yet on Sept. 11, 1936, the world was facing a deeply ominous development, the rise of Nazism. The front page story in The Spokesman-Review was about a rally in Nuremberg, Germany, attended by 43,000. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, went on a terrifying tirade. “Jews guilty! Jews guilty!” he screamed. Goebbels declared that Bolshevism was an “infernal world pest” that was tied directly to Jews. He said that Bolshevism “could be born only in the brains of Jews and he who fraternizes with Bolshevism is sure to die from it.” He also said that “every inner Bolshevist struggle is a family fight among Jews.”


What is the role of Public Diplomacy to U.S. Foreign Policy? - While the Bush Administration’s policies conceivably imbue some of the worst elements of American society, the explosion of efforts to make public diplomacy effective are an indication of the best of America’s mores and milieu. If the underlying exercise of diplomacy is to promote viable international security then public diplomacy is the most important weapon in the U.S. arsenal. However, until the foreign policy apparatus recognizes this, public diplomacy will easily become a public relations fiasco.

Coca-Cola’s ingredients have not changed significantly since the removal of cocaine in 1929, America’s national identity is slightly more complex and less palatable on the tongue. Image from

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