Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 26-27

"[T]he European Union allows pink slime only in pet food."

--Editorial, "Pink slime perspective," Los Angeles Times; image from article


Video: Spoof of "Like the ‘IDF’ on Facebook!" brings dose of reality - Jalal Abukhater, electronicintifada.net


World Leaders to Strengthen Nuclear Security: Statement Text – BusinessWeek - "Following is a reformatted version of a joint declaration of leaders attending the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in the South Korean capital today. ... International Cooperation 13. We encourage all States to enhance their physical protection of and accounting system for nuclear materials, emergency preparedness and response capabilities and relevant legal and regulatory framework. In this context, we encourage the international community to increase international cooperation and to provide

assistance, upon request, to countries in need on a bilateral, regional, and multilateral level, as appropriate. In particular, we welcome the intent by the IAEA to continue to lead efforts to assist States, upon request. We also reaffirm the need for various public diplomacy and outreach efforts to enhance public awareness of actions taken and capacities built to address threats to nuclear security, including the threat of nuclear terrorism." Obama/Medvedev image from

US envoy Stephens visiting Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv - kuna.net.kw: "US Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Kathleen Stephens is traveling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv through April 5 to meet with a cross-section of government officials, students, NGOs, and exchange program alumni, the State Department announced on Monday evening. In Algiers, she will meet with the ministers of Foreign Affairs; Culture; Youth and Sports; and Higher Education and Scientific Research. She will also visit with the director of Muslim Scouts and cut the ribbon for the new American Corner at the American Language Center in Hydra, Algiers. In Doha, she will participate in a workshop for Public Affairs Officers at US Embassies in the Middle East, meet with the leaders of the Al Jazeera Network and speak at Qatar University. In Amman, Stephens will meet with the ministers of Social Development and Education, and a group of alumni from various State Department exchange programs, including the Fulbright Program, International Visitor Leadership Program, Middle East Partnership Initiative Student Leaders Program, YES High School Exchange Program, and the Access English Program. In Jerusalem, she will participate in discussions with students at An Najah University and Palestinian media, and visit the America House. In Tel Aviv, she will meet with civil society leaders and exchange program alumni. She will also meet with public diplomacy counterparts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

Women’s Education is Women’s Empowerment - Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis, humanrights.gov: "Thank you Deputy Director Peterson (U.S. Mint) for the kind introduction and thank you Michele Satchell (EEO Program Manager, U.S. Mint) for asking me to deliver today’s keynote address as the U.S. Mint observes and celebrates women’s history month. ... Building these peer-to-peer relationships can be invaluable. I am sure that many of the women in this room can attest to its benefits.

Unfortunately, this value is often ignored within government and in foreign policy when in fact peer-to-peer relationships between state and local elected officials have a tremendous effect on foreign policy. To put it simply, not enough work is being done in this area, and this is why, as Secretary Clinton’s Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, I have been tasked with serving the global needs of U.S. intergovernmental officials, their subnational counterparts, and the entities they represent. Building these relationships and encouraging this engagement at the subnational level has limitless potential as a public diplomacy tool. Peer-to-peer relationships give state and local leaders around the globe an intimate glance into the American way of life, and more importantly, into our democratic institutions and system of governance. Even at a more basic but equally important level, these interactions develop trust—an attribute essential to developing strong bilateral ties." Image from

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez Appointed Coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, State Department, Washington, DC: "Ambassador Alberto M. Fernandez today assumed the position of Coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), which was established in September 2010 to coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide public communications activities directed at audiences abroad and targeted against violent extremists and terrorist organizations, especially al-Qaida, its affiliates, and its adherents. CSCC is an interagency effort based in the Department of State and operates under the broad policy direction

of the White House and an interagency steering committee. Staff is drawn from several U.S. agencies. The Coordinator reports to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and works in close collaboration with the Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT), other Department bureaus, and other government agencies, in accordance with Executive Order 13584, signed by President Obama on September 9, 2011. Alberto M. Fernandez served as U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea from January 2010 to March 2012. He previously served as U.S. ChargĂ© d’affaires to the Republic of Sudan from June 2007 to May 2009; Director for Near East Public Diplomacy (2005-2007); Director for Iraq Public Diplomacy (2004-2005) and in senior public diplomacy positions at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria and Guatemala." Fernandez image from

Tweeting diplomats drive culture shift in US - abc.net.au: "ELEANOR HALL: In the United States, diplomats are transforming the way they work using social media, and, according to a report released today by the Lowy Institute, the contrast with Australia is huge. The US State Department now has 600 social media platforms with a global audience of more than 8 million people. But the Lowy Institute's Fergus Hanson says that in Australia there is concern about letting even a single ambassador loose on Twitter. The Federal Parliament though is now conducting an inquiry into the use of online technologies in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Dr Hanson says Australian diplomats have plenty of

lessons to learn from the US. He spoke to me from Washington where he's been conducting the research for his report. ... ELEANOR HALL: Are you seeing a resistance even within the State Department though from some of the older diplomats to being told to get on Twitter? FERGUS HANSON: Yes certainly, I mean it's not across the board by any means, but I think what's happened at State has been a very strong top-down directive from Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, that she wouldn't just like this happen, she expects it to happen. Diplomats are being told in pretty uncertain terms that they need to innovate, that they need to get online and they need to start communicating and listening to people. And by and large that is happening. State now has about 600 social media platforms, it's communicating directly with about 8 million people. So it really is getting out there at least in a public diplomacy sphere but also internally there's been a lot of internal innovation." Image from

Yelena O ‏ @LenaOsipova - "wow. 'I don’t think of myself as a public diplomacy official. I think#publicdiplomacy is more old-school American propaganda.' "On Ross, see.

Foreign Service Officer Blogs to Love - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "As alert readers of this blog know, I am in the process of being fired from the Department of State in large part because of this blog. The firing part revolves around me 'writing about matters of official concern without authorization,[']  'identifying myself as a foreign service officer,' not using the required disclaimer, and 'poor judgement and notoriously disgraceful conduct.'A big one was that bit about 'poor judgment and notoriously disgraceful conduct,' which the State Department defines helpfully for me as 'lack of discretion which may reasonably affect an individual or agency’s ability to carry out its responsibilities or mission.' The idea is that if a blog has, well, undiplomatic things on it, the writer will not be able to represent the US, be taken seriously as a professional diplomat, that sort of thing. The blog’s message in other words will get in the way of the State Department job, distract from the professionalism required to represent the United States. At least that’s what is bothering State about me and my blog.Fair enough I guess, at least if State applied the rules equitably. On its own 'careers' web page, State lists dozens of Foreign Service blogs which quite obviously talk about matter of official concern and, given how they often post daily updates, do not appear to have gone through any authorization or clearance process. Some do, and some don’t, have the required disclaimer. And then of course, there is the blog of budding Foreign Service Officer Jennifer Santiago, who self-identifies online as 'diplomat, photographer and world traveler.' Ms. Santiago was apparently many other things before joining the Foreign Service, and helpfully includes a number of pictures of herself online. ... I have no way to verify it and make no claims to its veracity, but Ms. Santiago’s Wikipedia entry (doesn’t everyone have one?), which says her birth name is 'Jennifer Klarman,' claims she also once posed unclothed in Playboy. It is a not safe for work type of link, but the Playboy

photos are here, so you can judge for yourself if care to do so.  ... I don’t know Ms. Santiago, and we have never spoken. I found her blog online as anyone might; after all, it is online, subject to worldwide availability just like mine, via a Google search or two. Everything here came through some online searches, all subject to the whims of the web as to content and veracity. Just as State claims my blog renders me ineffective as a Foreign Service Officer, the blogs of other FSOs are hanging out there too waiting to be discovered by anyone dealing with us professionally.The point here is to suggest that the Department of State willfully chooses to enforce its blogging rules when it spies a blog whose content it dislikes (mine) and then ignores those same rules for a blog that it does like. Or, that the State Department can’t possibly locate, monitor and assess all the Foreign Service blogs out there, and thus selectively picks some (mine) for multi-month forensic investigation through its Diplomatic Security Stasi while remaining purposely ignorant of the others, a case of highly selective persecution, er, um, prosecution.Or, maybe it has something to do with the photos on my blog.

Maybe if I hit the gym more often the State Department would let me keep my blog unfettered as they obviously are doing with others?" Santiego image from; Van Buren image from entry

Chew on This: US Embassy Oman Celebrates 4th of July (in February) with Fast Food Sponsors - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "We’re late on this but last month, the US Embassy in Oman celebrated the 236th year of the independence of the United States of America. We were once told that heat is the reason for these early 4th of July  celebrations at various overseas posts, even at one EUR post.

And we bought that until we saw then Ambassador Eikenberry eating ice cream at a 4th of July in Kabul. Here is a note from Ambassador Richard J. Schmierer via FB:
The U.S. Embassy marked the 236th year of the Independence of the United States of America with a festive celebration on the Embassy grounds on February 28, 2012. Timed in conjunction with the U.S. President’s Day holiday which is celebrated each February, the event featured a ceremony by the Embassy’s Marine Color Guard and food and beverages from ten American franchise outlets. I had the honor of welcoming the official delegation of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, led by the Honorable Shaikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Saif al-Hosni of the Majlis al-Dowla, and the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sayyid Mohammed bin Salim al Said ... . The event highlighted this year’s 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first U.S. Embassy in Oman, which was opened on November 1, 1972 on the seafront in Old Muscat. More than 500 guests joined us for this year’s celebration.
The embassy’s Flickr account includes two sets from the event including 564 photos here, and 150 photos here.

Unfortunately, both sets are photo dumps with none of the photos appropriately labeled. Even with no captions, the photos below are clear as day, of course, since they all feature popular American fast foods. The brief explanation above makes it sound like the fast foods were on exhibit, doesn’t it?" Images from article

Beyond China's public diplomacy - Suti speaks: Exploring the World of Public Relations, International Affairs and Social Media: "It is not that the world has suddenly taken interest on China. Over the last decade China has invested large amounts on public diplomacy to educate the world about Chinese culture. It has established 356 Confucius institutes in fifty different countries. In the UK alone there are ten. This is at the back of huge aid and foreign investment in dolls out to other developing countries particularly in Africa. On the digital sphere, China Central Television (CCTV)

is increasingly expanding its global operation. Reports say Chinese state broadcaster is looking to increase its overseas staff by tenfold by 2016, and aims expand its audience base in Africa with English-language services produced in Washington and Nairobi. At the heart of operations will be six hubs: two probably in London and Dubai and others in South America and the Asia Pacific region. I have been watching CCTV in the UK, and must admit their reports are world class. This is not just a state initiative. A host of Chinese private channels have registered themselves in London to reach out to the Chinese diasporas across Europe. However, close sources say that they are yet to see any dividends on their investment. On another front, Chinese second tier cities have embarked on global promotion and branding exercise to allure foreign investments and tourist particularly from Europe and the US." Image from article, with caption: CCTV HQ in Beijing

SAGE: independent strategic communication for America - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner.us: "Public opinion has always had a major role in foreign policy, national security, and a strong economy. And yet, there is little argument that the United States lags in its ability to effectively understand, inform, engage, and empower people in the conduct of foreign affairs. The notable exception is domestic politics, but success in the global arena has typically been the product of a few smart people often working around the system. Call it public diplomacy or strategic communication, the ability to communicate and empower is essential to diplomacy, development, and defense, all of which are the foundation for any country’s, or organization’s, physical and economic security.

Strengthening America’s Global Engagement, or SAGE, is intended to provide America a 'flexible, entrepreneurial, and tech-savvy partner' that can work in situations and other partners that the U.S. Government cannot or should not to 'collaborate, support, and enhance initiatives' of engagement. Yesterday, the business plan for SAGE was publicly released at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Speaking were Jane Harmon, Paula Dobriansky, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Brad Minnick, and Goli Ameri." Image from article

SAGE - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I attended a program this morning at the Wilson Center on SAGE (Strengthening America's Global Engagement). The project is meant to combine a number of previous public diplomacy reports and recommendations, and help set up an indy strategic communications organization for America's stratcomm needs. Sagacious, indeed. Somewhere along the way, the project lost its connection to 'public diplomacy' but I will not harp (too much) on such things at present, even if I am not exactly fond of the stratcomm label (too militaristic; also, when is communication not strategic?). Anne Marie Slaughter gave a nice discussion of the interactions between government and civil society, and how State is playing a role in facilitating such interactions. She mentioned how State is facilitating gov-to-civ society interactions, and building relationships with nongov actors (polylateralism, by Wiseman's definition). Slaughter mentioned some interesting projects that State is convening such as the tech exchanges. I had heard good things about her, and read her previous pieces on the role of pd in the public sphere, and came away impressed. She noted that the SAGE project could increase the impact of what gov is already doing, but with independence that is vital for success. I applaud the initiative in theory, and think that a public-private organization is a great idea. I like their mission to promote independent media entities, and I would like to hope that when I previously chatted with the project director Brad Minnick about pd public/private initiatives, my highlighting of The Tiziano Project as strategic might have had some resonance. Apparently SAGE will be a grant-making organization, so perhaps this will be a stratcomm kickstarter. (Take note, Naomi and Jewcer, we need a PD crowdsourcing platform!). They also have an interesting proposal for IhearU, some kind of cyberdiplomatic social network (perhaps?).

It is supposed to be an innovative way to foster p2p, but I am not entirely sure yet what the platform entails. Here is where things got a little tricky. For one, apparently SAGE is now moving out to LA to be possibly housed at USC Annenberg. When this was said, I glanced across the room at Prof. Nick Cull, and the look on his face seemed to indicate that this was news to him. Nor did I see any of the other USC DC leadership on hand that one would think such a strategic partnership would warrant, nor was CPD [USC Center on Public Diplomacy] brass in the crowd. I think I saw a chuckle on Nick's face when the prospect of MPD [Master of Public Diplomacy] students interning at this new project was raised. First question, how will such an org interact with CPD? Second question, is it wise to have both CPD and SAGE connected with USC Annenberg, or does that connect PD/Stratcomm too much with one institution? It is hard enough to explain to gen pop what pd entails, and the differences between the MPD program and CPD, let alone to add a stratcomm outfit into the discussion. While I think it is a good thing for PD/Stratcomm to be outside DC for a broader perspective, I think a Wilson-to-Wilson (Princeton) perhaps might have made more sense, especially given Slaughter's connection rather than Wilson-to-Wilson (Dean Ernie). Perhaps this came about because the president of the Woodrow Wilson Center, former Congresswoman Jane Harman is also on the USC Board of Trustees? (H/T to Ima for that) All curious.... Secondly, during the Q&A, the question I was raising my hand for got asked by a fellow with the Goethe Institute about the role of cultural diplomacy in said SAGE. The answer was far from satisfactory, and nothing in the SAGE business plan has led me to believe that cultural diplomacy is strongly connected with such endeavors. So I will hold off further judgement and give said SAGE a chance. But I am a bit curious of how everything will progress." Image from

Public Diplomacy and Place Branding: The link? - snowlion98, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 6: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University "According to Edmund Gullion, Public Diplomacy deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies. It is seen as encompassing elements of international relations

beyond traditional diplomacy and involves the cultivation by governments of public opinion in other countries; the interaction of non-state actors and interest groups in one country with another and the process of intercultural communications. Place/Nation branding is relatively a new and less well understood concept. The two concepts from an analytical perspective might be mistaken for simply two version of the same idea. While Public Diplomacy can be understood more from an international relations perspective, place branding can be better explained through a commercial angle." Image from article

Head of Communicaticatinos [sic], Public Diplomacy Division, NATO - communication-summit.eu: "Dr Gerlinde Niehus leads the Corporate Communications Section within NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. After directing communication strategies for the European Commission’s External Relations and Information Society departements, she joined NATO in 1999 and assumed her current position in 2008.

Gerlinde Niehus holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Muenster University, Germany." Niehus image from entry

Events show power of individuals to make history - Karl Ritter, gazettetimes.com: "In France, a motorcycle gunman throws a presidential campaign into turmoil. In Afghanistan, one U.S. soldier’s alleged slaughter of civilians shifts the narrative of the Afghan war more than any policy conceived by the Obama administration. The past month exposes the limits of leaders who try to shape the world — and how unexpected actions by individuals can influence the course of history. 'The drama of a singular event can supersede years of policymaking,' says Philip Seib, director of the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. And in the information age, there is more space for individuals who are not in positions of power to make a footprint in history, by design or by accident. Consider how the Arab awakening started: a Tunisian fruit seller’s self-immolation following a public humiliation by police triggered protests that spread across the Arab World, fueled in part by social media."

LA County sheriffs search for missing USC student - Daniel Rothberg, Daily Trojan: "An investigation is underway into the disappearance of a student who left the university after last semester, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Tamar Abraham said. Elgin Stafford, 23, who was last seen on March 20 leaving his home in Carson, was pursuing a graduate degree in public diplomacy."


Targeted killings: Who's checking the executive branch? Congress should stop asking for memos and just take a hard look at targeted killings - Vicki Divoll,latimes.com: The real issue facing Congress: Should the president of the United States be able to order the killing of an American citizen with no review outside his own executive branch advisors?

In the Middle Kingdom's Shadow: Americans worry about competition from China. So do some of its Asian neighbors - Yukon Huang, Wall Street Journal: The West is obsessively asking how China's economic rise will affect it. The less-asked—but equally significant—question is what China's meteoric growth will do to the rest of Asia. The answer to this question has changed in the last decade. In the late 1990s, as Asia was coming out of its financial crisis, the consensus view held that China was a threat. Asian powerhouses such as South Korea and Thailand, with their battered economies, couldn't compete with the unscathed Middle Kingdom. But as these countries revived, the

region learned that all could benefit from China's demand for specialized components and primary products. Today China remains an opportunity to many of its neighbors. Image from

Cavernous propaganda and Pakistan - Alam Rind, thenews.com.pk: "US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in an interview with an American TV channel claimed that, ‘someone in Pakistani authority knew of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts prior to the operation carried out by US Navy Seals to kill him on May 02, 2011.’ He also made it clear that it was his hunch and he had no solid proof to substantiate his claim. But the damage was done. It must have triggered publication of thousands of articles in international print media portraying Pakistan as supporter of al-Qaeda and Taliban. Continuing spat of propaganda against Pakistan supports the point of view of those subscribing to conspiracy theory professing that foreign forces in connivance with others wish to harm Pakistan. They may construe the congressional hearing of the issue by the US Committee on Foreign Affairs on February 8, 2012 and tabling of resolution on Balochistan in the US Congress on February 18, 2012 to seek the right to self-determination for the people of the province as a major step in this direction."

Not just propaganda - Bong Austero, manilastandardtoday.com: Despite all the complicated theories that have been formulated and forwarded, two things remain the hallmarks of what comprise successful propaganda: Simplicity and truth.


Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, poses with her mother, Bernita Bisek of Whitehall, during a gathering of supporters Monday night at Northwoods Brewpub and Grill in Eau Claire. Photo: Shane Opatz, Leader-Telegram.

--From: Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog

"We [in California] spend more money on prisons than we do on colleges. Costs for the prisons are borne by the taxpayer, while costs for the colleges are increasingly borne by the students. California spends $6 billion for fewer than 30,000 prison guards and employees to incarcerate 170,000 inmates. According to the Legislative Analysts’ Office, that cost per prisoner averages $47,000 each year.

Compare that to spending on education. Local school districts get by on an average expenditure of $11,000 per student, while Community Colleges are funded at a measly $5,000 per student, state colleges at $7,000 per student, and state universities slightly more at $12,000 per student." Image from

--Wendi Maxwell, "California: The Greece of the US?" Whirled View

"Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who presided over the rise of the United States to world eminence, was content to write off the Foreign Service as a bunch of 'striped-pants boys.'

Truman, in whose term the State Department has been seen by many to be at its zenith, fantasized about 'firing the whole bunch.' As a result of Senator Joseph McCarthy's accusations against the State Department in 1950, he and Eisenhower did fire dozens of them, albeit reluctantly. Though he attempted to revitalize the department, Kennedy quickly came to the conclusion that it was just 'a bowl of jello.' For Nixon, the State Department did not merit even a derogatory metaphor. It was, quite simply, filled with 'sons of bitches.' While a few presidents in this period empowered their secretaries of state, they almost universally belittled and alienated the diplomatic establishment as a whole." Image from

--Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), pp.7-8

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