Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6

"[I]t’s a bit like surfing. The wave can crush you or carry you forward. And often it does both in quick succession."

--The American Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, David Huebner, regarding the use of new social media by his embassy; image from, with caption: U.S. Ambassador Huebner (right) with Embassy staff during a Twitter Q and A Session


(a) Welcome to the Take Five blog! - Sean Aday, takefiveblog.org: "Welcome to Take Five, the new blog of GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC)! The purpose of this multi-authored blog will primarily be two-fold. ~ To comment on the most interesting developments in the practice of public diplomacy (PD) and global communication. ~ To discuss relevant scholarly research in both of these fields, as befits our academic home.

Take Five will thus join a growing body of scholarly blogs that serve as layperson-friendly bridges to academia." Aday image from entry

(b) CFP: Use of Social Media in Public Diplomacy - isanet.org: "The editors of Global Media Journal invite proposals for a special issue on the 'Use of Social Media in Public Diplomacy: Getting Connected and Getting the Message Out.' This edition is devoted to the use and impact of social media on U.S. public diplomacy in the 21st century. The editors encourage submissions that touch on U.S. public diplomacy, comparative public diplomacy, or public diplomacy of other countries intended for the U.S. public. This special issue of Global Media Journal will have a graduate research section. Deadline for Submission: May 1, 2012. Please see the full call on the journal website for more information."


U.S. State Department Actively Promoting Islam in Europe - New Middle East News: "The U.S. State Department — working through American embassies and consulates in Europe — has been stepping-up its efforts to establish direct contacts with largely unassimilated Muslim immigrant communities in towns and cities across Europe. Proponents of Obama’s approach to public diplomacy — some elements of which originated with his immediate predecessor — say it is part of a 'counter-radicalization' strategy which aims to prevent radical Muslims with European passports from carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States. A key component of the strategy is to 'empower' Muslims who can help build a 'counter-narrative' to that of terrorists. In practice, however, Obama ideologues are crisscrossing Europe on U.S. taxpayer funded trips to 'export' failed American approaches to multiculturalism, affirmative action, cultural diversity and special rights for minorities. ... Obama

and his team may think they know what is best for Europeans, but according to recent polls, more than 70% of Austrians are in favor of a law that would ban the burka." Image from

Social media is key to US diplomacy in NZ - socialmedianz.com: "Diplomats are increasingly using social media to promote their countries’ foreign policy. Leading from the front is the US Embassy in Wellington and its social savvy Ambassador. The American Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, David Huebner, is all for embracing innovation in diplomacy or, in foreign policy speak, 21st Century statecraft. One very important demonstration of how diplomacy is moving with the times is the way the Embassy in Wellington has adopted social media as a form of diplomatic outreach. This innovation in diplomatic public relations was recently recognised in January when Public Affairs Asia honored the Ambassador and his team with the Gold Standard Award for Social Media Communications at its annual awards event in Singapore. ... The Embassy’s activities fit within, and often exceed, the goals set by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both of whom have spoken frequently about cyber issues, innovations in diplomacy, and internet-based entrepreneurship and human rights efforts. It is clear that the US Government has embraced the transformative importance of interactive social media communication, which helps advance international understanding and problem-solving by creating and networking online communities. For its part, the Embassy is well ahead of the general curve because it recognised that the tools it was experimenting with are now setting a new norm with significant ramifications for staffing, funding, strategy, and outreach. The Embassy has evolved from the experimental phase to operational integration. ... The Ambassador reports, for example, that he spends more than 20% of his own work time on social media activities including engaging with cyber communities, participating directly in Embassy cyber events, managing his own Twitter and Facebook networks, guest appearing on other people’s platforms, and writing his own blog (www.DavidHuebner.com) to which he posted 20 times just last month. That time allocation is up from 0% for an Ambassador, historically. The Embassy is not relying just on one person, though. It has instituted a multiple hub-and-spoke approach for social media that includes not only public affairs but also political, economic, public diplomacy, youth, agricultural, commercial, and other staff. The evidence is the Embassy’s multiple Twitter handles, numerous Facebook pages, its sports diplomacy blog, the impending launch of a Science and Technology blog, regular digital video conference events, and streamed special events such as Secretary Clinton’s town hall from Christchurch and the Ambassador’s roundtable with scientists from Antarctica. ... Ambassador Huebner notes that there is uncharted territory ahead. 'If social media engagement were easy, predictable, and risk-free, every government, corporate, or advocacy organisation would be doing it. But it’s not.'" Image from

МИД России вступил в Twitter-переписку с Макфолом: ОМОН на Пушкинской был гуманнее полиции США - "МИД России вступил в Twitter-переписку с послом США Майклом Макфолом, выразившим озабоченность разгоном митинга оппозиции на Пушкинской площади в Москве. Действия ОМОНа были гуманнее разгона акций 'Оккупируй Уолл-стрит' в США, говорится в сообщении МИД. 'Полиция на Пушкинской была в разы гуманнее, чем то, что мы видели при разгонах акций 'Оккупируй Уолл-стрит', палаточных лагерей в Европе', – говорится в сообщении mid_rf, адресованном Макфолу. Макфол, комментируя разгон акции накануне, написал, что он 'с тревогой смотрит на аресты мирных демонстрантов на Пушкинской площади', поскольку 'свобода собраний и свобода слова – международные ценности'." [Twitter message from the Russian Foreign Ministry to US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, reacting to his tweet expressing his concern that peaceful demonstrators were arrested at Pushkin Square, and stating that the measures undertaken by the OMON police were more "humane" than those taken against "Occupy Walk Street" movement.]

The United States cyber diplomacy faced Legal Predicament - Posted by rozon,sale-battery-charger.com: "Compared to the diplomatic, military means and traditional public diplomacy, diplomatic correspondence network in the latest information technology development trend, so the network diplomacy by the United States government as 'the twenty-first Century ruling strategy' in the new 'weapon', however, this new weapon still faces many legal difficulties."

Citizen Public Diplomacy on Women's Day in Afghanistan - Mahtab Farid, U.S. Public Diplomacy in Afghanistan: "International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul every year show support for Women's Day event around the country. The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan attends various Women's Day events to participate in the celebration and to acknowledge this prominent day. During my tour in Afghanistan, I have witnessed NATO officials called some of the Afghan women in high levels of government on the phone to congratulate them for Women's Day.

I was fortunate to attend a Women's Day event in Ghazni as a public diplomacy officer with our Polish colleagues and the military females on our team. It was fascinating to see how passionate Afghan women made speeches and recited poetry." Image from article, with caption: Amb. Eikenberry and his wife Ching, Navy CO. Marks, Polish Amb. Lang, Mahtab Farid, public diplomacy officer This photo is taken on Women's Day in Afghanistan when U.S. and Polish Ambassador visited from Kabul to attend the ceremony in Ghazni. Navy CO. Marks and Mahtab Farid are greeting the guests on the flight line.

Join our first live web chat on the International Women’s Day (08 Mar) - we-nato.org: "In the past decades women have come a long way in their struggle for equality with men, but still a lot remains to be done to give them a proper voice and role in the field of peace and security. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, 8 March 2012, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar, Assistant

Secretary General for NATO’s Public Diplomacy, and Veronika Wand-Danielsson, Swedish Ambassador to NATO, will discuss the importance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. They will look at what NATO member and partner countries have done so far to contribute to the implementation of UNSCR 1325, how NATO concretely protects women and children in Afghanistan and what needs to be done to ensure that more women can participate in peace negotiations and are better protected against violence in armed conflicts." Uncaptioned images from article

Why America Has Trouble Reaching Iran: VOA’s Persian News Network in Dire Need of Reform - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: "The regime that controls Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, and close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Controlled by this regime are 74 million Iranians, 60 percent of which are under age 30, multitudes of whom reject the fanatic theocracy that tries to separate them from outside ideas. Millions of Iranians hunger not only for news, but for democracy—as evidenced by the Green Movement protests of 2009. For the U.S. government’s international broadcasting complex, Iran is a place where a good communication strategy is a necessity; it is also a place of great opportunity. Tragically, America’s principal instrument, Voice of America’s Persian News Network (PNN), has simply not been up to the task. ... PNN is riddled with problems that prevent the service from being an effective

tool of public diplomacy.  ... To make PNN an effective part of a comprehensive U.S. strategy toward Iran, the BBG should: -- Restructure the PNN workplace. Professional management training for supervisors is a must, as is increased vertical communication within the network and greater transparency in hiring and promotion. --Improve the hiring process to make sure that Persian-language and English-language capabilities exist at all levels of production and management. -- Write new guidelines applying to contract employees to ensure equitable treatment and accountability for all. Create a board of Farsi-speaking advisers whose purpose it will be to monitor broadcasts and provide feedback on PNN program content. -- Demand that PNN editors and producers use the resources of U.S. taxpayers to provide more professional, diverse, and technologically proficient programming, anchored in American values and aligned with U.S. national interests. Congress should: --Exercise its power of oversight and request that the Foreign Relations Committees in the House and Senate hold regular hearings on issues relating to U.S. international broadcasting." See also. Dale image from

BBG Ready to Drop the Ax on Cantonese and Tibetan Services by CUSIB’s Ann Noonan in National Review - BBG watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch

Can Public Diplomacy be Nonpartisan in Bipartisan Washington, D.C.? - Lisa Liberatore, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: The priority of PD is set by one’s definition of it. Everyone seems to have his or her own meaning and connotation for PD. ... Whether we decide to advocate for PD within or outside the bureaucracies of the U.S. government, they will undeniably affect us in one way or another throughout our careers in PD. The key will be to understand the interagency relationships and strive to remain nonpartisan in our approach to PD. ... [C]onservatives need to be made more aware of the role of PD in their everyday lives so that it is given greater precedence in their voting and policymaking." Lisa Liberatore is a Master of Public Diplomacy candidate and current research intern at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy focusing on the role of the Millennial Generation. While an undergrad student she had the opportunity to experience the field of PD on the domestic level as an intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. where she quickly learned how party politics rule. She hopes to one day return to Washington, D.C. as a PD advocate.

Chinese News Makes Inroads in U.S. - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: Chinese TV has taken a page from Al Jazeera’s playbook. With sparkling new offices in Washington, D.C., on New York Avenue since February 6, and a staff of 75 soon to be 100, CCTV America is making a serious and well-financed bid to be a player in the U.S. media market. CCTV America is a subsidiary of China Central TV, the Chinese state broadcaster, whose global ambitions have been making headlines. Other headlines have been grabbed by Xinhua, the Chinese news agency that created a 24/7 global English-language news channel to compete with CNN International and Fox News. In a free and open society like the United States, should we worry about this promotion of the Chinese point of view? The answer is 'yes.' If we are not careful, we could wake up in the not-so-distant future and find that more people receive their international news from Russia Today, CCTV, and Al Jazeera than from American news sources. U.S. government-funded international broadcasting is shrinking, and Voice of America broadcasts to China are constantly under threat of the budget knife. Despite the existence of CNN International, foreign news is a weak point for American networks. Other western broadcasters like BBC International are also under budgetary pressures. Not so CCTV. ... CCTV’s new offices are not the only manifestation of Chinese global ambition in Washington. To replace its old fortress-like embassy in the Kalorama neighborhood, described by The New York Times as 'squat and unassuming,' China has built a giant, glistening new embassy in Washington, D.C., in an effort to 'convey the sense of importance of China and China’s role in the world today.' It is the biggest embassy in D.C. and was built by imported Chinese workers at an undisclosed cost. And of course, the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo, the Chinese space program, the Confucius Institutes, and the rest of Beijing’s public diplomacy advances serve the same purpose. As a part of this relentless advance, CCTV America represents a challenge we cannot ignore."

Video Contest for Foreigners “I love Korea, because…” To be Held - karinachua.blogspot.com: "1. Following the appointment of Ambassador for Public Diplomacy (September, 2011) and the launch of the Public Diplomacy Policy Division (January, 2012), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has strengthened public diplomacy, which aims to increase foreigners’ understanding of Korea and communicate with them from the heart. ㅇ This year, the Foreign Ministry will hold a video contest 'I love Korea, because…' and 'Quiz on Korea,' and also install a ‘Korea Corner’ in libraries overseas. The Ministry will continue to diversify programs for public diplomacy. 2. Applications for video contest 'I love Korea, because...', the first public diplomacy program this year co-hosted by Arirang TV, will be accepted from March 1 to May 20. Any foreigner can apply for the contest by submitting a video clip they have made, which introduces reasons they love Korea including Korean traditional culture, K-POP, landscape, economic development and personal experiences related to Korea. ㅇ The Grand Prize winner will be presented with a car made in Korea, invitation to Korea and K-POP live show. Other prize winners will be given Korean brand laptops, tablet PCs and digital cameras depending on their ranks. 3. The upcoming video contest will help increase foreigners’ feelings of closeness to Korea, and learn what foreigners see as Korea’s strength. It will also contribute to setting our direction for future public diplomacy activities. Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations of MOFAT * unofficial translation"

A striking image for the Olympics - Philip Fiske de Gouveia, Guardian: "As a senior researcher at the London-based Foreign Policy Centre from 2005 to 2007 I was involved in early exploratory discussions at the Foreign Office on the promotional or 'public diplomacy' opportunities offered by the London 2012 Olympics. Received wisdom at the time was that the Games would provide a 'once-in-a-generation' opportunity to showcase Britain to the world, and thus boost tourism, inward investment, and political and cultural capital. Len McCluskey's suggestion of possible industrial action (Anti-cuts strikes could target Olympics, says union boss, 29 February) has sent a ripple of panic across the Westminster village, not least because such action is seen as a threat to this 'PR' legacy of the Games. A London summer rife with demonstrating union members – or indeed anti-capitalist and anti-war protesters – is evidently perceived by some, including David Cameron, Tessa Jowell and Nick Clegg, as a major threat to this country's global image, and therefore national interest. How wrong they are. Recent research has demonstrated that it is in fact very difficult to shape the way your country is perceived around the world, particularly in the case of a highly visible country like Britain. Simon Anholt, former vice-chair of the FCO's own public diplomacy advisory board, told the foreign affairs select committee in 2010 that 'national images are very robust; they really don't change very much'. In trying so hard to manage the way Britain is perceived this summer, officials and politicians risk wasting their time on an ineffective attempt to make this country look like an Anglo-Saxon Singapore. The once encouraging noises from politicians about showing the world our diversity and creativity have been replaced with a desire to show that our pavements are clean and that we are all in bed on time. Even recognising the limits of public diplomacy, what better message could we send to the world this summer, at this time of anti-authoritarian revolution across the world, than that in the motherland of democracy constructive social protest and political dissent are thriving? Politicians misguidedly fear a commercial opportunity will be spoiled this summer. I fear that a different, much more powerful opportunity will be wasted." Via CR on twitter.

Catholicism and the New Social Media - Jeanette Gaida, takefiveblog.org: "By using [a] Twitter account, the Vatican is attempting unite Catholics in new technology, thus creating a network of Catholics that can be a very powerful voice for the Church. This follows Ann Marie Slaughter and Clay Shirky’s ideas that the network will be the tool of future diplomacy. By using new media to its advantage, the Vatican is piling up resources and preparing this network for a battle against possible controversial policies. While this is a good start, the Vatican has more work to do if it is serious about using the Pope’s Twitter as a public diplomacy tool."

Actor travels to Ireland to promote Israeli diplomacy: Aki Avni to battle misinformation on Irish university campuses as part of government campaign - Itamar Eichner, ynetnews.com: "'There's great hatred for Israel. We're dealing primarily with ignorance,' actor Aki Avni told Yedioth Ahronoth Wednesday, upon his return from a diplomacy-oriented trip to Ireland. Avni was part of an eight-member delegation sent to the European country as part of a Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry campaign to show the world 'Israel's pretty face.' Some 100 Israelis have been dispatched to university campuses worldwide as part of the effort."

The al-Dura case - Nachman Shai, Jerusalem Post: "On September 3, 2000, a drama took place at the Netzarim junction in the center of the Gaza Strip. Jamal and Muhammad al-Dura, father and son, were caught in the crossfire between Israelis and Palestinians. The event ended with the 11-year-old boy lying in the road, his head in his father’s lap. The incident was recorded by Tallal Abu Rahman, a cameraman for French television station France 2.

He filmed 27 minutes of footage, which were edited into a two-minute news item. That evening, reporter Charles Enderlin announced on the France 2 news broadcast: 'The child is dead.' The report was picked up by news stations around the world. The real-time reporting of al-Dura’s death was one of the formative events of the second intifada. This was firstly because it took place right at the beginning of the intifada, but beyond that, the power of the image was so great that it generated a long-term, ongoing effect; even today, al-Dura is the most famous name of the second intifada. Israel had difficulty contending with the harsh images, and the lack of organization in Israel’s public diplomacy network in the early days of the intifada was critical. Only five days after the initial report was broadcast, after other related reports and commentaries, did Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, then head of the IDF Operations Directorate, take responsibility on behalf of the State of Israel and express his regret at the incident." Image from article

Boycotting Israel in Vancouver Backfires! - "Anti-Israel protesters had stepped up their activities prior to last week’s Israel Apartheid Campaign, whose organizers worked hard to cripple Israeli establishments worldwide. One of the cities plagued by such activities is Vancouver, Canada. Israeli Shani Bar-Oz, who owns a store carrying Israeli-made toiletries in down-town Vancouver, says the alarmingly growing rate of protests by anti-Israel activists, has her fearing for her safety.

Bar-Oz, 33, said her store is often targeted by anti-Israel protesters shouting anti-Semitic slogans. ... Israeli Public Diplomacy Minister Speaks Out [:] Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, also expressed his support for Bar-Oz. 'I read the article and the story is truly shocking. I’m urging her not to give up, and the fact remains that she’s not hiding Israeli products,' he said. 'This is important because these loud protestors wish to scare businesses and prompt them to shut down. As long as she’s not doing it, I think she’s winning.' The minister also vowed to speak with Canadian government officials and share the story with them." Image from article

Armenians, Azeris are People Too: Georgy Vanyan to International Agencies - latest-armenian-news.blogspot.com: "What today in the process of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is called 'people’s democracy' is an activity that instills the idea of an insurmountable conflict, said head of the Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgy Vanyan, in an interview with 1news.az. 'And the more the conflict is perceived as irreconcilable takes root in people’s minds, the deeper the conflict goes. The deeper the conflict, the greater the racism and theory of our genetic incompatibility. In the current situation, there’s no place, no area of application for public diplomacy in its true sense. There is potential, of course — it’s in human nature itself. But diplomacy needs contact and mutual interest. We have neither one nor the other.'"

Op-Ed: To Save the African State, Negotiate with Terrorists - theafricanfile.com: "Boko Haram, the colloquial Hausa name for the People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad, is based in northern Nigeria and has undertaken such operations as a car bombing on the United Nations headquarters in the capital Abuja, brutal attacks on police stations in the north, and a Christmas Day bombing of a Christian church also in the capital. They claim to be a reaction to the Western influence they see being forced upon the people of the Muslim north by a corrupt Christian-led government. ... [T]he Nigerian government should work towards immediately engaging

in constructive talks with Boko Haram in order to grant them some level of self-governance and to negotiate a level of autonomy. ... Nigerian public diplomacy can begin to engage the people of this autonomous [northern] region to reinforce how unity under the state, while far from perfect and in need of much reform, is a better option to the fractious alternative that they chose. Already, the northern region of 60 million people rely on government funds to prop up their economy as their previous enterprises have faired badly in the face of Chinese competition or dwindled through agricultural decay. The Nigerian government will need to back up this outreach through quality and lasting reforms. Education should be the forefront of any engagement with the north as the benefits from increased schooling and skills can directly dispute the content of Boko Haram’s message that western education is a negative influence." Image from article

Program Outreach Advisor, Washington, DC: Pro-telligent International: Pro-telligent is seeking a candidate to work for a USG client to: Provide technical public diplomacy/public information expertise, analysis, and guidance, while providing assistance to establish a communications strategy that outlines goals, objectives, and priorities to promote positive messages regarding programs." Via CR on twitter


Russia and Putin Redux: Prospects for Change - Simon Saradzhyan and Nabi Abdullaev, Power and Policy: Given Putin’s taste for tongue-lashing against Western powers, his comeback may result in a toughening of Russian rhetoric vis-à-vis the West.

But it is rather unlikely that Russia under a President Putin will take steps to intentionally reverse the reset in US-Russian relations even as Moscow and Washington exchange barbs over ongoing contentious issues, such as Syria and missile defence. One fundamental problem with the reset, however, is that both sides have already picked all of the low-hanging fruit. Image from article

Putin's return upsets the reset - Editorial, USA Today: During the campaign, Putin railed against the West and the United States, spinning dark conspiracy theories and calling protesters stooges of the West. That doesn't sound promising, especially after four years during which the U.S. and Russia worked to "reset" relations under President Dmitry Medvedev, cooperating on Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear arms reductions. Now, Putin's angry anti-U.S. rhetoric, and Russia's recent decision to defy the U.S. by vetoing a U.N. resolution condemning Syria, signal that the reset is endangered. That could complicate U.S. foreign policy in numerous ways, from new arms agreements to the war in Afghanistan to Iran's nuclear ambitions and the continuing fallout from the Arab Spring. And while there is hope that Moscow and Washington will eventually work out a deal on missile defence if President Barack Obama remains in office, deep reductions in nuclear arms, including non-strategic weapons, a new round of substantive UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, or any other substantial advances in the bilateral relationship would be much more difficult to attain, especially given the approaching election cycle in the United States. Should Obama be voted out of office, however, there will be a greater probability that US-Russian relations may sour. Image from article

How Powerful Is Russia? - New York Times: Expect Russia to Feel Threatened: David Satter: The U.S. should deal with Russia exclusively on the basis of facts and without effusive demonstrations of goodwill; Just Rhetoric to Rally Russians, Sergei Guriev: In comparison to staying in power, good relations with the West are certainly a second-order issue; Putin Wants "Glory to Russia," Kathryn Stoner-Weiss: Crude oil at well over $100 a barrel and a nuclear arsenal means the U.S. has no choice but to take Russia seriously; Still a Delicate Balance, Dmitri Trenin: If the U.S. public is led to believe that Putin is not the legitimate head of Russia, this will constrain Obama's outreach to him; Plenty to Worry About, Leon Aron: There's no denying that Russia is the world's other nuclear superpower, and is unique geostrategically, spanning Europe and Asia.

Iran, Israel and the United States - Editorial, New York Times: The United States military is far more capable of doing serious damage to Iran’s facilities than the Israeli military, but the cost would still be high, with many of the same dangers and uncertainties. Mr. Obama is right that military action should only be the last resort, but Israel should not doubt this president’s mettle. Neither should Iran.

AIPAC beats the drums of war - Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Now Israel is moving toward a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear program, and American leaders are coming before AIPAC this week to give their blessings. Whatever private misgivings Obama may have about a strike on Iran, his rhetoric this week could easily be considered a green light for Israeli action.

An unbridged divide in U.S.-Israeli relations - Editorial Board, Washington Post: It’s possible -- even likely -- that, having established the principle that Israel is prepared to act unilaterally, Mr. Netanyahu and his government will choose not to do so. That would give the United States and its allies an opportunity to probe Iran’s willingness to make concessions in another round of negotiations, which are expected this spring. Otherwise, Mr. Obama’s pledge that “the United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security” will be put to the test.

The Case for Arming the Syrian Opposition: The U.S. secretary of state should have more to say than simply that anti-Assad forces will 'somewhere, somehow, find the means to defend themselves [subscription] - Mark Palmer and Paul Wolfowitz, Wall Street Journal: While the slaughter continues in Syria, the U.S. is in danger of repeating the mistake made 20 years ago when we refused to arm the Bosnians. We left them at the mercy of Serb militias for three horrendous years with well upward of 100,000 deaths, until finally—after the massacre at Srebrenica and thousands more dead—NATO was forced to intervene directly and send 60,000 peacekeepers.

"Satellite television has brought the Arab-speaking world together, for better or worse" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Keep Up the Pressure on Myanmar’s Generals - Peter Popham, New York Times: AS the only obvious alternative to what Winston Churchill is said to have called “jaw-jaw” and “war-war,” economic sanctions have a mixed record. They have yet to show any sign of bringing Iran’s leaders to the negotiating table; in Iraq they made the lives of civilians worse while merely driving Saddam Hussein deeper into his bunker. But in Myanmar, which has been ruled for half a century by its army, more than two decades of sanctions finally seem to be doing the trick. That is a good reason to keep the pressure on until the Burmese people are truly free.


"No historian has been able to fully understand — much less justify — why, on Dec. 17, 1862, Grant issued his notorious General Orders No. 11 deporting Jewish citizens. 'The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade,' went the chilling text, '. . . are hereby expelled from [his command in the West] within twenty-four hours.' Those returning would be 'held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners.' Just two weeks before Abraham Lincoln was scheduled to extend freedom to one minority group with the Emancipation Proclamation, his most promising general thus initiated a virtual pogrom against another."

--“When General Grant Expelled the Jews” by Jonathan Sarna - reviewed by Harold Holzer, Washington Post


--From LV on Facebook

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