Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10

"We have no discipline in this bureaucracy. We never fire anybody....We always promote the sons of bitches that kick us in the ass.... When a bureaucrat deliberately thumbs his nose, we're going to get him.... The little boys over in state [State Department] particularly, that they are against us, we will do it."

--President Richard Milhous Nixon; cited in Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p. 174; image from


Fergus Hanson, Visiting Fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, discusses, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Adviser for Innovation Alec Ross, the reaction at the State Department to his (Hanson's) paper on ediplomacy. Via YO on Twitter


Urgent Challenges for New Public Diplomacy Chief - Helle Dale, heritage.org: "Rolling up her sleeves should be new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine’s first act in office. For the chief of the U.S. government’s outreach to the foreign public, urgent business is waiting. Moving into her office at the State Department on Monday, with her swearing in scheduled for April 24, Sonenshine, the former executive VP of the U.S. Institute of Peace, is reportedly ready to jump right in. As her position holds a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Sonenshine will be able to influence the BBG’s strategic planning process. This process has in recent years threatened to gut the U.S. international broadcasting services by redirecting resources from broadcasting toward Internet-only platforms, which are unavailable in many developing countries. According to the website BBG Watch, Sonenshine is planning to attend this month’s BBG meeting at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Radio and Television Marti, which broadcasts to Cuba, are

among the entities targeted by the cutting knife. Sonenshine will also need to hear from Members of Congress who have taken a strong interest in the future of international broadcasting, such as Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA). Another issue demanding attention is the challenge from China, whose aggressive public diplomacy advances are well-documented and were the topic of hearings in the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently. China is investing heavily in public diplomacy and international broadcasting, openly challenging the U.S. ideologically on its own turf. Sonenshine would do well to visit some of the 260 Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at academic institutions all over the U.S. The U.S. is under pressure from China and others in the field of public diplomacy and communication and desperately needs to focus on outreach. Lots of other issues will be on her plate, but most fundamentally, Sonenshine has to answer this question: Is the U.S. still engaged in the war of ideas globally? If the answer is 'yes,' then there is no time to waste." Image from

Create Yer Own Blog Post: Web Hypocrisy - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "The Department of State lately is very concerned about web freedom for other countries ('smart power') because it has convinced itself that if people in other countries had full and free access

to the internet, they would be nice and we would not have to bomb them with drones ('policy'). ... If only the State Department would afford the We Meant Well blog the same freedom it demands for Iranians." On Van Buren, see. Image from entry

WikiLeaks, public diplomacy 2.0 and the state of digital public diplomacy - an extract - Nicholas J. Cull, statesmansyearbook.com: "Secretary of State Clinton has argued that connectivity is an absolute good and pledged the United States to work to make the blessings of the information society as widely available as possible, but the voters of the United States will have to accept that the voices they empower will be diverse and will include some that are critical and even openly hostile. ... In planning new technology ventures I would propose the following. Rule 1: Be relevant. Don't assume that what is important to you will matter to your audience: tweet the issue. Rule 2: Be cooperative. Look for partners and be ready to pass on messages from others and by the same token craft your messages so as to make them easy for others to pass them on.

Rule 3: Know your audience. Understand the ways in which they use social media and be consistent with that culture as you would if you were physically entering a conversation. Understand the credibility that comes from being 'like' your online interlocutor. Rule 4: Be realistic. Public Diplomacy 2.0 can't make a bad policy good any more than its 1.0 variety could. The prime need is not to say the right thing but to actually be the right thing, especially in an era of growing transparency. Rule 5: Listen. Do not let the 1001 new ways to speak that you have discovered online keep you from exploring 1002 new ways to listen. In the old media or the new, public diplomacy begins with listening." Cull image from

Dozens Die as Suspected Muslim Terrorists Target Easter Service in Nigeria - Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews.com, posted at: "The U.S. government is planning to open a consulate in Kano, a flashpoint city in the northern shari’a belt, to help advance U.S. development assistance activity and public diplomacy programs in the north. The U.S. had a consulate in Kaduna in past years, but when Nigeria moved its federal capital from Lagos in the south-west to Abuja in the center in the early 1990s, the consulate was shut down and a consulate opened in Lagos."

Чикагский Симфонический Оркестр [Chicago Symphony Orchestra]  - afisha-lj.livejournal.com: “18 и 19 апреля на сцене Большого зала консерватории выступит один из величайших оркестров мира – Чикагский симфонический оркестр. Гастроли коллектива являются кульминацией программы 'Американские сезоны в России', проходящей под эгидой Двусторонней российско-американской президентской комиссии при поддержке посольства США. (April 18-19 at the Bolshoi Hall of the [Tchaikovsky] Conservatory one of the greatest orchestras in the world will perform – the

Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The tour of the musical ensemble is the culmination of the program ‘American Seasons in Russia,’ undertaken under the aegis of the Bilateral Russian-American Presidential Commission with the support of the USA Embassy.”) Via HS on Facebook. Image from article.

Iran's culture ministry criticizes Iranian website for Q and A with US diplomat - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Fox News domestically disseminates VOA story as apparent pretext for provocative headline - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Kyrgyzstan court overturns conviction in murder of journalist who had reported for RFE/RL and VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Facebook Entry - Mark H. Teeter: "Hey, d'ya hear who won the Masters? Booba Uatson! No, that's not some comical Russian mistransliteration of 'Bubba Watson' -- it's a comical mistransliteration by the, er, Voice of America.

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. But you sure won this one, Booba! Бубба Уотсон – победитель турнира по гольфу Masters. Watson image from

Hu jintao met with overseas Chinese communities in the world congresses fellowship - yukifans001.typepad.com: "The world overseas Chinese Chinese societies fellowship the theme of the congress is to 'promote Chinese excellent culture · show a good image of overseas Chinese'.From 110 countries and regions, about 570 overseas Chinese Chinese community leaders to the conference. The great hall of the people in the golden hall, be permeated with the happiness and laughter. 9:00 am 30 points made, hu jintao comrade came to the leadership of the delegates to the conference middle, then sounded long time warm applause. Hu jintao and other glad to shake hands with delegates kind, and posed for pictures. State councilor DaiBingGuo at 9 in the morning and addressed the opening ceremony at the conference. He points out that China's party and government has always attaches great importance to cultural construction. 17 of plenary meeting of the communist party of China on deepening the reform of the cultural management system, and promote socialist culture development and prosperity of big problems and to make decision, fully embodies the Chinese party and the government think highly of the culture construction of consciousness, reflects the common aspiration of people of all ethnic groups of China, accord with Chinese people at home and abroad and carry forward the Chinese excellent culture inheritance of the common desire. 50 million overseas Chinese is not only the great development of China's unique resources, which is in the Chinese nation overseas show the image of an important window, also is the important the inheritance of Chinese culture and marriage. The overseas Chinese

in melt into the mainstream of society live in countries at the same time, pay more attention to keep national characteristics, propagating Chinese culture, this not only is to national culture inheritance, also is to live in countries of the rich cultural diversity. DaiBingGuo said the government will support overseas Chinese actively developing Chinese and foreign cultural exchanges. He put forward three points of overseas Chinese expect: one is to improve Chinese and foreign cultural exchanges, and show the Chinese culture new image; 2) to overseas Chinese affairs public diplomacy, show contemporary China new image; Three is to promote the construction of harmonious Kenneth k.m. liao, show the new image of overseas Chinese." Image from

Iran, Bosnia emphasize will for strengthening ties, expanding cooperation - irna.ir: "IRI Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast and Bosnian Deputy FM Suada Dilberovic in a meeting here Monday evening stressed need for strengthening bilateral ties and expanding cooperation. ... The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said in the meeting, 'In order to expand the level of cooperation we need to take advantage of the entire open opportunities and unused potentials, and

introduce these capabilities to the people and possibilities to the people and the economic activists, which would doubly accelerate improvement of relations.' The head of public diplomacy and media communications of the Foreign Ministry elaborating on hidden potentials in the two countries’ diplomatic and public communications fields, added, 'A part of pursuing the public relations work in general atmosphere of the two countries, and a more important part of work in the field of the mass media, is on the shoulders of the countries’ friendship associations and NGOs.' He reiterated, 'We welcome increasing the people’s interactions.'” Ramin Mehmanparast image from article

Some Armenian MPs came to Baku 'to score propaganda points' - news.az: Azerbaijani political expert Tabib Huseynov: "A mutual lack of confidence and trust is indeed one of the major obstacles in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Increasing public diplomacy and people-to-people contacts are one of the ways

to overcome these barriers to peace. However, it is equally important that people who engage in such interactions should be genuinely interested in finding a peaceful resolution and not in promoting ethnic divisions. And in this regard, it should be stressed that not all of those MPs visiting Baku recently shared the goal of peace and co-existence between Armenians and Azeris." Huseynov image from article

Call for papers – Countries of the European Neighborhood Policy - blackseango.org: “The call for papers on the subject ‘Countries of the European  Neighborhood Policy East and South: particular issues and common solutions for  sustainable development of Europeis now open. This contest is provided by Youth Club “Social  Diplomacy” (Russia), jointly with The Autonomous non-commercial  organization “Center For Socio-political Studies ‘Premier’ ’ (Russia). ... The competition  aims: To conduct a survey by the most active young researchers on proposed issues  and region development with a primary focus on macro-ENP (within different  dimensions East and South), and in connection with the Black Sea region  processes to develop mutually shared scenarios of  local problems solving and to facilitate a  sustainable development of Europe. ... Key subjects of the  works [include]: Security problems in the macro-ENP (East and South) and  the Black Searegion, including the pending inter-state  conflict and peacekeeping initiatives. The influence of public diplomacy to conflict resolution process.”

Influence grows faster with business than politics and diplomacy – evidencex: "Here it goes, here it is. The power of business is so important now, that the way we drive “relations” is no really efficient confronted with private efforts, taking markets, shares and business stakes. Long is sometimes the road for public diplomacy but the real angels now are more blue boss than politic icons. When you stare for example at Indian area and the crossroad to complicated relations with Pakistant, Russia and China in the same zone, we saw the importance of the last first trade exposition, focused with the influence of business private sector in the tough situation in stranger policy. More and more, economy and trade lead the diplomatic relationship in this area, and drive the international scene."


US-Russia: from reset to upset - Nicu Popescu,euobserver.com: "A year or so ago, while doing research for the post-BRIC Russia report, I spoke to a US diplomat dealing with Russia about the ‘reset’. He sounded (naturally) very positive about its effectiveness. Among its two key achievements he mentioned cooperation on transit to Afghanistan and  halt of anti-US propaganda on the Kremlin-controlled media and a subsequent decrease in anti-Americanism in Russia society. With Putin’s return, protests in Russia and the US elections all talk is now about the end of the reset. In the last few months anti-American propaganda made forceful comeback in the Russian media. Many thought it was just electioneering in the run-up to the March presidential elections.

But that was too optimistic, it seems. In the last few weeks things became even more heated. NTV, a Russian TV channel owned by Gazprom Media, has been following US ambassador Michael McFaul pretty much everywhere, which lead to an outburst of indignation from McFaul, as well as accusations that his phone (and therefore calendar) is hacked, and a formal US State Department protest over the harassment of the US ambassador. McFaul also claimed that upon arrival to Moscow last January he felt like he was back in the Cold War and that ‘it has been surprising that there was so much anti-Americanism, because we thought we were building a different kind of relationship, and it makes some people nervous that it could so quickly and reflexively go back to – in terms of rhetoric – an era that we thought was behind us’. Then, on a different occasion, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called McFaul ‘arrogant.’ In other words, the dismantlement of what was considered a key achivement of the reset is well advanced.  For all the controversies around McFaul – the truth is that he was not just the architect of the ‘reset’. He was one of the strongest voices for engagement with Russia in the US and in this sense if not Russia’s best friend, then surely Russia’s best ‘friendly non-adversary.’ Back in autumn his designation as ambassador was even delayed for a few months by a hawkish Republican Senator over fears that Obama’s administration might be sharing classified information with Russia. Attacking McFaul only strengthens a much more adversarial approach to Russia in the US, not least by the likes of Mitt Romney who called Russia ‘number one geopolitical foe’. Despite increasingly heated language the other key achievement of the reset might see better times. In the fog of pre-election anti-Americanism last January, Russia and the US actually agreed on a NATO logistics base (the Russian government prefers to call it a ‘transit centre’) in Ulyanovsk, the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin, which apparently has a convenient 5-km runway at its airport and can receive large aircraft. Of course, a NATO base in Lenin’s birthplace was too much a symbolic blow to Russian communists who staged protests under slogans like ‘while we disarmed, NATO encircled us’. The base might move somewhere else in the end, but the bigger point is that for all the trading of niceties on the political level, actual cooperation between Russia and the US on some concrete issues continues." Image from

US propaganda on Russia - As'ad, The Angry Arab News Service: A source on politics, war, the Middle East, Arabic poetry, and Art: Look at the headline and look at the picture.  "White ribbons fill Red Square as Russian officials allow protest."  The square clearly does not look filled.

Image from entry

Win-win international cooperation the only option: Chinese official - xinhuanet.com: The world should find a new pattern of interaction featuring win-win cooperation as nations are becoming increasingly interdependent, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday. "Countries should not repeat history by maximizing their own interests, vying for spheres of influence, conducting arms races or competing viciously in a zero-sum game," China's Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said at a forum held by China Institute of International Studies. "In this networked world of a myriad of challenges, win-win cooperation is not an option rather is the only option," Le said, adding that "we must abandon the so-called 'seesaw' mentality which contends one's rise is another's fall." Le quoted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that the world needs to "find a new answer to the ancient question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet." At the forum, Le also criticized some developed countries' attempt to change rules "unilaterally and willfully."

The U.N.’s failed plan for Syrian peace - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Twenty days have passed since the U.N. Security Council endorsed the Syria peace plan of former secretary-general Kofi Annan. It’s been eight days since Mr. Annan said the regime of Bashar al-Assad had agreed on a deadline of April 10 — Tuesday — to withdraw heavy weapons from cities, and five since the Security Council ratified that date. So the entirely predictable outcome of the initiative ought now to be recognized: Mr. Annan and his backers have merely provided cover for Mr. Assad to go on slaughtering his own people. A civil war is taking place in Syria. Mr. Obama may believe that by fleeing from leadership through figments such as the Annan plan, he is avoiding “militarization.” In fact, he is ensuring that thousands more people will die.

It would be a mistake for Israel or the US to attack Iran - greatersurbiton.wordpress.com: Before President George W. Bush, US leaders had pursued the policy of leaving Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in power while strangling Iraq with sanctions over many years – at enormous cost to the Iraqi people. Although the Bush Administration bungled the occupation, the argument that a short war was a price worth paying to free Iraq from dictatorship, sanctions and isolation was not unreasonable. A pity, therefore, that the war was justified on the grounds of the Baathist regime’s supposed development of ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

Even before the coalition failed to discover them, the grounds for invasion were not deemed sufficient by international opinion. The war was from the start a propaganda disaster from which the West’s reputation is still struggling to recover. An Israeli or US attack on Iran would most likely be another such propaganda disaster. It would have no humanitarian justification, nor would it advance the cause of democracy or human rights in Iran or the Middle East. The argument that it would constitute a pre-emptive act of self-defence by Israel – which we shall come to – is not to be sniffed at but is nevertheless misguided. We are left with a purely strategic argument: the need to limit the power of a barbaric Islamist regime with an aggressively anti-Western ideology and foreign policy, that is promoting bloodshed and strife in the region. While this argument, too, is not to be sniffed at, it is not sufficient to go to war, and would not be accepted as such by world opinion. Image from entry

Squandered leverage over Iran - Michael Singh, Washington Post: The United States holds a strong bargaining position going into Friday’s scheduled nuclear talks with Iran. Washington must keep up the pressure. Doing any less would waste precious leverage that has taken years to build and would validate the Iranian regime’s strategy of defiance, provocation and delay.

White House warns media on North Korea - Dylan Byers, politico.com: “The White House is pushing back against the media for what it sees as oversaturated coverage of this week’s forthcoming North Korean missile test. ‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this is a propaganda exercise,’ National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told me. ‘Reporters have to be careful not to get co-opted.’ The long-range missile test, which Pyongyang is touting as a peaceful satellite launch, has given networks, newspapers and wires a rare opportunity to report from within the country. NBC’s Richard Engel, ABC’s Bob Woodruff and CNN’s Stan Grant are among those who have already produced curtain-raising segments on the days ahead. The Associated Press is turning out blow-by-blow coverage, and reporters are tweeting and filing frequently. But Vietor fears that by flooding the zone in North Korea, U.S. media outlets are providing the country’s leadership with propaganda tools that will only embolden their efforts to enhance its intercontinental ballistic missile capability. ‘North Korea is trying to sell this to the world as being about space exploration, when really it’s about testing missile technology,’ he told me. ‘They’re using the press, using this angle of a space mission, to hide their real goal.’”

What Obama could learn from Muhammad Ali - Stephen M. Walt, foreignpolicy.com: How many of you know what the phrase "rope-a-dope" means? For those who don't, the phrase describes the strategy that Muhammad Ali used to defeat the heavily favored George Foreman in their heavyweight championship fight in Zaire in 1974, the so-called "Rumble in the Jungle." Foreman had demolished former champ Joe Frazier in two rounds in a previous bout, and most observers expected him to make short work of the older and smaller Ali. But Ali had prepared a clever strategy, and he spent the early rounds of the fight covering up and leaning against the ropes. Foreman landed lots of ineffectual blows, punched himself out, and became exhausted. Ali came off the ropes and knocked Foreman out in the 8th round.

What, you ask, does any of this have to do with international politics? I'll tell you. The "rope-a-dope" is a nice metaphor for an effective strategy for great power competition, somewhat analogous to the strategy of "bait and bleed." During the Cold War, for example, it made good sense for the United States to let the Soviet Union waste blood and treasure trying to win meaningless victories in places like Angola, or Afghanistan. By the same logic, Soviet leaders were smart to let us fight for years in Vietnam. In both cases the outcome of these conflicts didn't really matter very much to the overall balance of power, so letting the opponent punch themselves out trying to win was a clever approach. Today, one could argue that China (and maybe a few others) are employing the "rope-a-dope" against us. Image from article. Via PR.

Israeli soldiers answer your questions online - Israel Today: One of the more regrettable results of the incessant propaganda campaign against Israel is that Israeli soldiers, many of them young men and women between the ages of 18 and 20, are made out to be soulless and even bloodthirsty creatures. In many places, it is enough to just say you have served in the Israeli army to be immediately ostracized, or at best not taken seriously. Over the past few years, Israel has greatly improved its ability to fight the public relations war. Much of that has happened on an official level, with the Foreign Ministry, IDF and Prime Minister's Office taking vigorously and regularly to online social media. But a growing number of private initiatives are also doing their part to get a more accurate picture of Israel and Israelis out there to the world. One such initiative is "Friend a Soldier," a new website that allows visitors from anywhere in the world to personally connect with active Israeli soldiers and reservists.

The exchange is simple. Visitors to the site choose one of 20 or so Israeli soldiers and fill out a short form with their questions. The soldiers, who all volunteer for the website, then post their answers to "Friend a Soldier" for the whole world to see. The experience is made more personal by the fact that each soldier has a profile and recent photograph posted to the site. Friend a Soldier has already received thousands of emails from around the world, including many enemy nations right here in the Middle East. Many of the questions are accusatory, as would be expected, but the young soldiers do their best to answer politely and honestly in order to show the human face of the Israeli army. Image from article

ANC starts its campaign in Ashtarak and Aparan with violations - times.am: Municipalities of Ashtarak and Aparan towns of Aragatsotn region have released an announcement which especially says: “On April 10 Armenian National Congress

starts its pre-electoral campaign at Aragatsotn region. Ashtarak, Aparan towns and some near-by villages are elected as a place for propaganda. But they did not escape from the violations just on the first day of the campaign and have already violated some claims of the law." Image from article

Terror and Terrorism are Meaningless Propaganda Terms - decryptedmatrix.com: The entire concept of a “Terrorism expert” is invalid, as it is an honorific title typically assigned due to ideology and interests served rather than actual expertise. In U.S. political and media discourse, Terrorism means little more than: that which

America’s Enemies du Jour(generally Muslim Enemies) do to it, but not what America and its allies do to anyone. Terrorism is not a real concept in which one develops “expertise”; it is, and from its introduction into world affairs always has been, a term of propaganda designed to legitimize violence by some actors while de-legitimizing very similar violence by others. Image from entry

Vintage Chinese Propaganda Poster for Children (Translated) - pleated-jeans.com: My Chinese is a little rusty, but I’m pretty sure these translations are 100 percent accurate…:


Teen births are at their lowest level in almost 70 years, federal data report today. Birthrates for ages 15-19 in all racial and ethnic groups are lower than ever reported - Sharon Jayson, USA Today


Tommy Tucker, Fashion Squirrel [PHOTOS] - Washington Post: In the 1940s a cross-dressing squirrel from Washington, D.C., took the nation by storm. With more than 100 outfits to choose from — and such accessories as hats and pearl necklaces — Tommy Tucker

captivated adults and children alike. He sold war bonds during World War II and encouraged members of the Tommy Tucker Club to be kind to animals. Image from


"[I]n the first line of 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813), Jane Austen wrote:

'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'

By about a century later, comma rules had been codified such that both commas in the sentence (after 'acknowledged' and 'fortune') would be dispensed with."

--Ben Yagoda, a professor of English at the University of Delaware, writing in The New York Times


President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, reads "Where the Wild things Are" during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 9, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.


"And President Obama attended church services yesterday. You know, he hasn't been attending services regularly since becoming President because he feels his presence disrupts the services. Though this is election year, he goes every week to that new church the I Am Not a Muslim Cathedral. Have you seen that one?"

--Talk show host Jay Leno, cited Bulletin News, LLC

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