Friday, December 16, 2011

December 15

(posted on December 16)

"Information is the best propaganda."

--Journalist G of the Russian government television network, Russia Today; cited in Polina Bykhovskaya, "I am Putin's propaganda," oD Russia; image from article


The Pakistanis Have a Point - Bill Keller, New York Times: "As an American visitor in the power precincts of Pakistan, from the gated enclaves of Islamabad to the manicured lawns of the military garrison in Peshawar, from the luxury fortress of the Serena Hotel to the exclusive apartments of the parliamentary housing blocks, you can expect three time-honored traditions: black tea with milk, obsequious servants and a profound sense of grievance. Talk to Pakistani politicians, scholars, generals, businessmen, spies and journalists — as I did in October — and before long, you are beyond the realm of politics and diplomacy and into the realm of hurt feelings.

Words like 'ditch' and 'jilt' and 'betray' recur. With Americans, they complain, it’s never a commitment, it’s always a transaction. This theme is played to the hilt, for effect, but it is also heartfelt. ... The day after a marathon dinner, [Hillary] Clinton’s entourage took over the Serena Hotel for a festival of public diplomacy — a press conference with the foreign minister, followed by a town meeting with young Pakistanis and then a hardball round-table interview with a circle of top editors and anchors. Clinton’s [late October] visit was generally portrayed, not least in the Pakistani press, as a familiar ritual of America talking tough to Pakistan. In the town meeting, a woman asked why America always played the role of bossy mother-in-law, and that theme delighted editorial cartoonists for days. But the private message to the Pakistanis — and a more careful reading of Clinton’s public performance — reflected a serious effort to reboot a troubled relationship. ... What Clinton and company are seeking is a course of patient commitment that America, frankly, is not usually so good at. The relationship has given off some glimmers of hope." Via Amb RG via phone conversation. Image from

Dilemmas of a Dyslexic Public Diplomacy - Robert Albro, "Does public diplomacy in the U.S. know how to listen? This was the question inspiring a conference I organized not long ago at American University. Historically the evidence is not encouraging. ... The history of public diplomacy points to a relative absence of dialogue, and comfort with our own echo chamber, alongside a disinclination to plumb the depths of diplomacy as a demandingly reciprocal communicative act.

And so we are permanently vulnerable to the probability of the wholesale misrecognition of our interlocutors, friends and enemies alike, at once taking them to mean what they might not while missing or not taking seriously what they try to tell us."  See also John Brown, "An Exchange on 'Listening' in Public Diplomacy," Notes and Essays. Image from

BBC World News adds 15 million US homes via Comcast, "an important foothold for the BBC" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

The U.S. Institute of Peace: Bad for the Budget, Bad for the Jews
- Eric Rozenman, "Something unexpected happened to the 300 full- and part-time staff members of the United States Institute of Peace last spring. Just before they moved into new headquarters — a $186 million architectural oddity in which federal office building meets Disney World — the House of Representatives voted to defund them. Forty-one Democrats joined the Republican majority in opposing USIP. A subsequent House-Senate budget compromise sustained the institute but sliced $7 million from its allocation, leaving a $54 million target for next time. And that was without scrutiny of the institute’s work on Iran, Israel and genocide. ... Across 23rd Street N.W. from the State Department, USIP raises a question. Given State and Defense’s policy planning sections, the U.S. Army’s Peace-Keeping and Stability Operations Institute, and private non-profits like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, why the institute? State may have asked itself the same.

Secretary Hilary Rodham Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomatic and Development Review, unveiled in December 2010, included a goal of 'improving the department’s ability to defuse crises before they explode.' That’s USIP’s mission. The agency 'is an independent institution established and funded by Congress to promote research, education and training on the peaceful prevention, management and resolution of international conflicts,' says its Web site. Officers and staff come from the foreign service, academia and the military. Some go the other way, such as Executive VP Sonenshine, picked by the White House to be the next undersecretary of State for public diplomacy. ... If the institute’s budget survives a potential Republican majority in both chambers of Congress, closer scrutiny as part of planning to identify and secure national interests in an era of Islamic triumphalism, Arab upheaval, Chinese expansionism and Russian trouble-making will be mandatory." Image of USIP from, with caption: The institute tapped Moshe Safdie to design the building

From darkness to light: Synagogue dedicates terrace in name of local Holocaust survivor - Emily Jacobs, "More than 300 congregants, friends and family members braved the cold Sunday to attend the dedication of the Schiff Family Terrace at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria. The terrace was built by 16-year-old Scout and Agudas Achim congregant, Ben Richer, as part of his Eagle Scout project. The terrace, which is six feet high and eight feet wide, incorporates eight cobblestones from the Warsaw Ghetto

that were given to the synagogue 15 years ago and was made to look like the Western Wall in Jerusalem. ... Witold Dzielski, first secretary, Political Section, Embassy of Poland, as well as Noam Katz, minister of public diplomacy, Embassy of Israel, ... attended the ceremony and spoke about the importance of the terrace as a way to remember the tragedies of the Holocaust and celebrate the triumphs of the creation of Israel." Image from article, with caption: Charlene Schiff accepts the dedication on behalf of her late husband Ed and her entire family.

Obama Oy Vey, Newt is Gerecht and Mitt is Git! -  The Pro Israel Republican Primary - Jacob Kornbluh, "The contrast between the two leading Republican candidates neatly illustrate the sharp contrast not only in their leadership style but in some basic understanding of diplomatic policy, at the same time that Republicans are appealing to American Jews, not necessarily the Ultra-Orthodox community that traditionally vote for National Republican candidates. But within the Orthodox Jewish community there is also a battle over minds, over who is the most Pro Israeli candidate in the race, and who is most to be trusted to stand with Israel in these challenging times. ... While the Israeli Government moved over the course of recent years to the center, enjoying support from an overwhelming majority Israeli public, The American administration cannot afford to be at the right of the Israeli people. That is still an uphill battle to move from the left where the current administration has taken its public diplomacy and foreign policy, to the center which is supporting the Israeli and Palestinian people's quest for a viable secure peace and the treatment of our ally and Friend in the Middle East region. The question is, which one do Republican voters want."

Articulating Israel’s Side of the Story - Bar Ilan University Magazine: "As an articulate advocate for Israel, MA candidate Jonnie Schnytzer is actively working to upgrade Israel’s global image and challenge eforts to delegitimize the Jewish State. Regional Executive of StandWithUs (SWU) – an international education organization that ensures that Israel’s side of the story is told on campuses, in communities and the media around the world – he oversees training of the handpicked students accepted into the prestigious annual

SWU Fellowships at BIU and the Technion. ... Schnytzer, who hopes to pursue a career in the civil service, is now a junior fellow in BIU’s new Center for International Communications, immersed in Israel advocacy writing, panels and conferences. Guided by the Center Director, the world-renowned public diplomacy expert Prof. Eytan Gilboa, he writes op-eds, accompanies delegations from abroad and trains local high school pupils to be eloquent advocates for Israel. ... Re-branding, now that’s a chief goal of Israel’s eloquent advocate Jonnie Schnytzer, who is working to re-shape Israel’s image at home and abroad." Schnytzer image from article

Uprisings opportunity for new Israel foreign policy‎ - Andrew Friedman, Jerusalem Post: "[T]he Arab Spring could serve as an opportunity for Israel to re-think important aspects of its public diplomacy and political programs. In this respect, Israel’s relationship with one (albeit non-Arab) Muslim country could serve as a model to guide Israeli leaders as they redefine our relations with countries closer to home.

That country is Indonesia." (see below, Rock music fans shaved and shamed in Indonesia - John M. Glionna, Image from

VOL. VII NO. 25, December 02-December 15, 2011 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

Canadian Public Diplomacy, Then and Now - Darryl Copeland, "[T]he record of activity in the second half of the 1990s stands ... as enduring testament to the power and potential of Canadian PD. It was a high point which has not since been revisited.

To a significant extent, I would suggest that whatever remains Canada’s positive international reputation – its brand – still relies on these, and earlier accomplishments." Image from

Korea’s diplomacy faces major test - Song Sang-ho, "Nam [Chang-hee Nam, political science professor at Inha University:] Nam stressed that Seoul should capitalize on its network of countries with which it shares common values of democracy and market economy and make the best of its 'soft power' so that it can make coordinated, effective responses to future diplomatic challenges. 'If we use a cooperative network of countries such as Japan, Australia and NATO in addressing diplomatic difficulties, we can exercise national power that is bigger than our actual power,' he said. 'We should strengthen our diplomacy that is fit for our status as a middle power. By mixing our soft power and public diplomacy, we can create more diplomatic strength. This is particularly crucial for a country where big powers conflict such as South Korea.'”

Uruguay Prodded by G-20 to End Bank Secrecy - Eric Ehrmann, Huffington Post: "Uruguay used Woodrow Wilson's 'Fourteen Points' as a foundation for a century of cooperation with the United States. Today, however, young Uruguayan kids in the affluent barrio Carrasco are indifferent to the building blocks of American democracy ... . [P]oor Uruguayan families who depend on government infrastructure for an economic future are flooding into Montevideo in search of jobs and bumping up street crime and social problems. Public diplomacy efforts to project a more culturally sensitive regional outreach merely provide a patina of inclusiveness that covers and perpetuates traditional economic interests associated with the inter-American system that is structured to ensure that wealth is pumped up to the top of the economic pyramid."

Nepal Varsity [sic] to launch courses on International Relations and Diplomacy - Sushil Raj Pandey, "Prof. Pandey [Central Department of Political Science, Tribhuwan University Nepal]: There are both theoretical and practical subjects which are in tune with our national needs. As for the practical courses, the students, will for the first time, have the opportunity to learn the art of negotiation through simulation.

The modus operandi of treaty making and agreements, of the diplomatic protocols, public diplomacy, administration of managing foreign missions, promotion of cultural diplomacy, the job of work-attaché, diplomatic correspondence, practical field visits those line ministries of the government which is associated with foreign matters. Uncaptioned image from article

Strategic Studies Center expert joins Russian neighborhood policy conference - "Int'l conference 'Russia and its neighbors:cooperation in policy, economy, security and humanitarian sphere-agenda for equal cooperation' is to be

held in Moscow on 16 to 20 December. According to sources in the Center for Strategic Studies, the event is arranged by the Fund of Support to Public Diplomacy named after A.M.Gorchakov." Image from article

On Message and On the Money: Crisis Communication Lessons from International Finance - "On Message and On the Money: Crisis Communication Lessons from International Finance Date and Time: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 , 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Location: Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC, 20004 ... Panelists include: ... Silvia Kofler, Minister-Counselor, Head of Press and Public Diplomacy/Spokesperson for European Union Delegation to the United States ... Potential discussion questions include: How do institutions like the World Bank and the IMF adjust messages for cultural relevance while still maintaining consistency? How do global

financial institutions manage relationships with the financial press, given the need for both timely dissemination and political discretion? How can communicators mitigate the adverse reactions that inevitably accompany any highly charged financial decision on the global stage? What is the role of social media and web content in shaping world views of these institutions? How are programs like World Bank’s #thinkEQUAL campaign crossing barriers such as language and basic Internet access?" Image from

ACSS Welcomes New Communications and Community Outreach Chief - "The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) is happy to announce that Mr. Brad Minnick is its new Director for Communications and Community Outreach. ... Brad comes to ACSS from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he was the project director for its Public Diplomacy initiative. He is an internationally

recognized management and communications advisor and principal at HKS Global, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm. Before that, he was Director of the Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State and CEO of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, an international exchange organization." Minnick image from article


Arc of Iraq war told in images - Scott Wilson, Washington Post: The war has left a legacy of lasting effect on American politics and culture.

There is the federal debt, inflated by an estimated trillion dollars spent on the war, along with more than 4,400 dead troops, a generation of young amputees, a fragile ally in the heart of the Arab Middle East and narrowed ambitions for American power. Image from

In Iraq, Maliki is a man of the shadows - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — suspicious eyes, wary demeanor, brows furrowed by years living in the underground — really the face of today’s Iraq? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and America helped make it that way. America’s greatest mistake in Iraq wasn’t toppling Saddam but detonating the infrastructure of the government, the army and the educational and social institutions that made civilized life possible.

The U.S. has options to help end the carnage in Syria - Editorial Board, Washington Post: The administration should be quietly working with Arab allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as with Turkey, to provide greater support to the Syrian opposition — including its armed components. The sooner Syrian commanders and the regime’s remaining supporters can be convinced that Mr. Assad cannot survive by force of arms, the more lives can be saved.

Undiplomatic Senate Hold-Ups: Ambassadorial nominees deserve a yea-or-nay vote - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal [subscription]: One of the more unseemly spectacles in Washington—the list is long—is the Senatorial habit of holding executive appointments

hostage to pet political causes. This holiday season brings its share of abuses, but also glimmers of sanity. Image from

Ex-Pentagon official: Captured spy plane seems fake - Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: The former official, who saw video footage of the

drone on display in Iran, said not only is it the wrong color, but also the welds along the wing joints do not appear to conform to the stealth design that helps it avoid radar detection.

The official requested anonymity because he is not authorized to release information on the drone matter. Images from

Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer: In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran - Scott Peterson, Science Christian Monitor: Image from article, with caption: This photo released on Thursday, Dec. 8, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show US RQ-170 Sentinel drone

which Tehran says its forces downed last week, as the chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, right, listens to an unidentified colonel, in an undisclosed location within Iran.

Iraq After America: The U.S. hasn't done nearly enough to win the peace - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The U.S. and Iraq should still pursue a new security agreement that returns U.S. troops to Iraq. What a pity that this Administration is treating our near-total withdrawal from Iraq mainly as an opportunity to show the political left that it has ended George Bush's war.

The Lion and the Eagle: Czech-American Relations through the Eyes of Envoys - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech republic: Symposium of current and former U.S. Ambassadors to the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia and Czech and Czechoslovak Ambassadors to the U.S.A. The ambassadors discussed the past, present and future of Czech-U.S. and transatlantic relations and included also some of their personal memories.

They jointly searched for ways how to sustain and reinforce the close mutual relationship between both countries for the future. The symposium was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The debate was chaired by Mrs. Wendy W. Luers, the founding President of The Foundation for Civil Society who has been active leader in connecting Americans to the Czech Republic and other Central European and Balkan nations over the past twenty years. See also Jan Richter, "Czech-US relations: like a 20-year-old marriage without sex, envoys say," Image from article

Rock music fans shaved and shamed in Indonesia - John M. Glionna, Canadian singer Neil Young might croon a rebellious anthem that “Hey hey, my my, rock 'n’ roll will never die,” but in Indonesia’s Aceh province, the musical art form’s lifestyle is under serious attack. In this strict Islamic corner of the world’s most-populous Muslim nation, authorities rounded up 65 male and female punk-rock fans after a recent concert for a bit of “reeducation.”

That meant having their mohawks and dreadlocks shaved, their clothes destroyed and their piercings yanked out before they were paraded around like crime suspects. Image from article, with caption: Indonesian 'punks' get their heads shaved by police

Study: Most people still don't trust online info - Barbara Ortutay, Wall Street Journal: In 2010, 15 percent of Internet users said they find only a small portion of online information reliable. That's greater than the 7 percent who were likewise skeptical of the vast majority of information they come across on the Internet. The mistrust is especially true for social networks. That said, people don't look to social networks for reliability. Rather, they visit the sites to socialize and share photos, updates and videos. Jeff Cole, author of the study and director of USC Annenberg School's Center for the Digital Future, said Americans tend to be more trusting of government and big media. "Other countries are better at distinguishing good information from (the) unreliable," he said. In repressive regimes where media is closely tied to the government, citizens grow adept at filtering truth from propaganda.


"Rhode Island was the Britain of its time."

--Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman, "A United States of Europe? There are similarities between the treaty talks in Europe and the founding of the United States. U.S. diplomacy is needed to avert a bigger crisis,", pointing out that "this small trading state was unwilling to give up its sovereignty to the federal colossus."

Image from

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