Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31

"Planners don't talk."

--George C. Marshall, Secretary of State; cited in Hannah Gurman, The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond  (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p.53; Marshall image from


Power, Principles And Participation In The Global Information Age (San Diego, California, April 1-4, 2012). For public-diplomacy related panels at this convention, see.


The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Under Secretaries - Brian Carlson, PDC Public Diplomacy Council: "Habit One: Remember that it is all about 'the field.' Public diplomacy gets done out there at the embassies and consulates, not here in Washington. ... Habit Two: The most important thing the Under Secretary can do for the field is – are you ready? can you guess? – 'send money.' Well, to be accurate, 'send resources.' ... Habit Three: The next most important thing the Under Secretary can do for the field, and therefore for public diplomacy, is to restrain Washington. ... Habit Four: The Under Secretary’s target audience is at the other end of Constitution Avenue. That is, on Capitol Hill. Those congressmen and Senators up there are the key to money, influence and success in Washington. ... Habit Five: …that discussion of chutzpah and being proactive leads to a mini-analysis of the State Department’s organizational culture. The Department is like a giant sponge. If you press on it, it will give, and it will assume the shape you want. And, the moment you stop pressing, it will return to its original shape. Decide on what you want, and keep pressing for it in every forum and opportunity. Be relentless. ... Habit Six: Mention of the military reminds that the State Department does not own 'public diplomacy [']. However, State (meaning you) can lead it. Foreign audiences take their understanding of American values, actions and policies from a vast array of sources -- the impact of American business, media, tourists and travelers, sports, exported entertainment products, the academic community, and inventions, to name a just a few. The Under Secretary can generally do little about those, but she can offer leadership to the parts of the U.S. Government that work in the public diplomacy sphere. ... Habit Seven: Lastly, in the inter-agency, you can lead, but you cannot direct. Neither the Department of State, nor the Under Secretary, can direct the actions and expenditures of other cabinet agencies, departments and military units." See also: John Brown, "Memo to Karen Hughes," Common Dreams (April 24, 2005) which in its last recommendation (no. 14) to her as the newly-named Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs during the Bush administration suggests that she "Keep your sense of humor."

The World's Fair Podcast, Episode 29: César Corona on Public Diplomacy and World's Fairs - "Episode 29 of the World's Fair Podcast is now available for download as an MP3 or via iTunes. In it, Urso Chappell and John McGregor

talk to César Corona about the role of public diplomacy at international expositions." Uncaptioned image from article

Tara Sonenshine, now confirmed as under secretary for public diplomacy, will attend BBG meetings - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Sonenshine will represent the secretary of state, ex officio member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, at BBG meetings. Other than that, she will have no administrative authority over US international broadcasting; i.e., US international broadcasting is not under US public diplomacy."

Moroccan professor gives Radio Sawa/Alhurra part credit for lack of US flag burnings during Arab Spring - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Alhurra program acquisitions (updated again: "one about a Muslim high school football team") - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA wall-to-wall coverage of Burmese election. RFA wall-to-wall coverage of Burmese election - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio/TV Martí's @martinoticias has most retweets per tweep of USG Twitter accounts - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Image from entry

Russia to block any UN decision on foreign intervention in Syria -– FM - "Outlining a year in Russian foreign policy, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated Moscow’s insistence on an immediate halt to violence in Syria and the start of a national inclusive dialogue . ... The effective use of soft power in all its forms is another important resource in our work. We intend to cooperate with civil society institutions, the expert community, business circles and mass media. We will actively use the potential of organizations established last year, namely, the Russian Council for International Affairs and the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Foundation, and other opportunities that we have with civil society in addition to traditional diplomatic instruments. We also expect that the new foundation for supporting and protecting the rights of Russians living abroad will become fully operational this year, as will the International Cooperation Agency."

If You Can’t Go to the Mountain, Have the MountainRunner Go to You - After many years of  interaction in the blogosphere, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Matt Armstrong of the noted public diplomacy and information influence blog MountainRunner, at a suburban Chicago watering hole. A lively discussion ensued in which Smith-Mundt legislation only made the briefest appearance. Uncaptioned image from article

Man found in Dominguez Channel ID'd - "A body found in the Dominguez Channel in Carson has been identified as that of a 23-year-old man reported missing March 20. Coroner's investigators identified the body as that of Elgin Olu Stafford, who until recently was pursing a master's degree in public diplomacy at USC. ... He was a graduate of UC Berkeley. The body was found Thursday between Avalon Boulevard and 213th Street, but it was unclear how he died. His father, Michael, told several broadcast outlets that his son was under a lot of stress."


U.A.E. Closes Down U.S.-Financed Democracy Group - Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: On the eve of a summit meeting here between the United States and Arab nations of the Persian Gulf to deepen security ties, one of those countries, the United Arab Emirates, announced that it had shut down an American-financed organization that promotes democracy, State Department officials said. The United Arab Emirates announced the shutdown on Friday of the office of the National Democratic Institute, State Department officials said, a day before the meeting on Saturday attended by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A new doctrine of intervention? - Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post: For more than half a century, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been guided by several core security objectives: preventing any power in the region from emerging as a hegemon; ensuring the free flow of energy resources, still vital to the operation of the world economy; and attempting to broker a durable peace between Israel and its neighbors, including a settlement with the Palestinian Arabs. In the past decade, Iran has emerged as the principal challenge to all three. A process that ends with regional governments either too weak or too anti-Western in their orientation to lend support to these outcomes, and in which U.S. partnerships are no longer welcomed, must evoke U.S. strategic concerns — regardless of the electoral mechanisms by which these governments come to power. Within the framework of these general limits, U.S. policy has significant scope for creativity in promoting humanitarian and democratic values. The United States should be prepared to deal with democratically elected Islamist governments. But it is also free to pursue a standard principle of traditional foreign policy — to condition its stance on the alignment of its interests with the actions of the government in question.

The U.S. can meet Israel halfway on Iran - Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, Washingt post: Because Israel is the only country that Iran has repeatedly threatened to “wipe off the map,” it is reasonable for it to have some input into the objectives of diplomacy and the timetable for progress in negotiations. It is possible to synchronize the U.S. and Israeli clocks and give diplomacy a chance to work. Ironically, the better these timetables are aligned, and the more Tehran understands this reality, the more likely the Iranians are to see that if they want to avoid force being used against them, they must take advantage of the diplomatic out that the United States is offering.

China mounts online crackdown amid political crisis - David Pierson, China launched an Internet crackdown Friday amid its worst political crisis in decades, shuttering more than a dozen websites, limiting access to the country's largest micro-blog providers and arresting six people for spreading rumors about a coup attempt in Beijing. The measures represent the strongest attempt yet to quash speculation that the nation’s top leadership is wracked by infighting after the ouster of Bo Xilai, the controversial Communist Party chief of mega-city Chongqing.

The official New China News Agency quoted a spokesman for the State Internet Information Office as saying authorities were punishing 16 websites and six individuals for "fabricating or disseminating online rumors" about "military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing." Image from article, with caption: An Internet cafe in Shanghai

What art history reveals about ‘dehumanization’ of Jews in Swedish drawing - Menachem Wecker, As the Associated Press reported a couple of weeks ago, a drawing by two Swedish pastors that has been described as anti-Semitic was yanked from an exhibit in a Stockholm church. The drawing shows a rat carrying a rifle while two other rats eat what the Simon Wiesenthal Center calls a map of the Palestinian territories. “Animalization (depicting humans as animals) of Jews was perfected by the Nazi propaganda machine, an all-too effective way to dehumanize Jewish citizens in the eyes of their German neighbors. The propaganda of the 1930s set the stage for the murder of 6 million Jews in the 1940s. Since then, Soviet and Arab and Muslim anti-Jewish propaganda used the very same method. Now it has surfaced in 2012 Sweden,” says Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center in a post on the center’s website.

Assad says revolt is over but the army keeps shooting - Rick Moran, The opposition claims it won't stop fighting until tanks and artillery are withdrawn for the major cities. But President Assad continues his propaganda campaign claiming the revolt against him is over.

NKorea rebuilds Pyongyang to welcome new leader - Pyongyang still serves as the biggest billboard for the government's messages both to the outside world and to its own people. Just about every prominent building and statue in North Korea is located in Pyongyang, said Brian Myers, a professor at Dongseo University in South Korea and expert on North Korean propaganda. "It really is the apex of all propaganda and political life," he said. "The fact that the buildings are so monumental, they are very good at eliciting pride in the state."

Check These Out: Hilarious Propaganda Posters for 'Hunger Games' - Ethan Anderton, The adaptation of Suzanne Collins' hit young adult novel The Hunger Games is still dominating the box office, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Wrath of the Titans or Mirror Mirror can knock the mighty sci-fi film off its throne. In the meantime, the internet is having fun with all the hype surrounding the film from how awkward the tabloid relationship name would be for Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) to this new batch of hilarious propaganda posters from the comedy factory that is College Humor. Using some familiar imagery, these posters make light of the brutal nature of the games. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss, a 16-year-old living in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem. Every year, one boy and one girl

are chosen from each of Panem's 12 districts to fight each other to their death. Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta, the boy chosen from District 12 for the Hunger Games with Katniss. The Hunger Games is both written and directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Gary Ross, director of Seabiscuit and Pleasantville previously, but also writer of Big, Mr. Baseball, Dave, Lassie, Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. It's adapted from Suzanne Collins' popular series of novels, first published in 2008. Lionsgate brought Hunger Games to theaters everywhere March 23rd, 2012. May the odds be ever in your favor. Image from article


"[T]he Pew Research Center ... found that 68% of respondents did not approve of targeted Internet advertising if it meant having their online behavior tracked and analyzed. Pew has said that nearly 3 in 4 Americans now use search engines, and two-thirds use social networks. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. own smartphones."

--Tech firms' data gathering worries most Californians, poll finds: Trust is low even for the most widely used Internet and smartphone companies, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple - David Sarno, Los Angeles Times


"Vacation? Who's got time for a vacation? That seems to be the attitude of many Americans, according to a new national survey that shows 48% of adults passed up on using at least half of their vacation time in 2011. The survey of 1,000 adults by Los Angeles-based Kelton Research for Radisson Hotels & Resorts found that Americans are given an average of 18 vacation days a year. But those Americans who said they passed on using half or more of their vacation time blamed a heavy workload and not wanting to play catch-up after returning to work.

Even though so many Americans forgo vacation time, 52% of Americans said they would give up office-sponsored events in exchange for five more days of vacation, according to the survey. Nearly one in four adults surveyed said they would give up their next promotion or 5% of their salary for five more days of vacation. To squeeze in more time with loved ones, 63% of Americans said they bring family along on business trips. Vacation time goes unused for many Americans, survey says"

--Vacation time goes unused for many Americans, survey says   \- Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times; image from article, with caption: A scene from National Lampoon's Vacation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow great job