Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 27-28

"Almost every person in Waziristan is becoming mentally sick because of day-and-night flights of drones. This is more dangerous than polio."

--Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a North Waziristan Taliban leader, cited in "A phony CIA vaccination program used to help track down Osama bin Laden leads militant leaders to ban a polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan's Waziristan regions," by Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times; image from


Letter to President Obama on Yemen: More Aid, Fewer Drones, Please - "The Atlantic Council and The Project on Middle East Democracy are worried about the drift in Obama administration policy on Yemen, about the lack of attention to urgent development and humanitarian issues there, and about the indiscriminate use of drones, which are likely to do more harm than good. So they did up a five-page letter to the Obama administration on the Yemenissue, which I thought well of and signed on to. ... [From the letter:] While there are some in the US government who understand the need for a comprehensive approach, the current public diplomacy and implementation of US policy in Yemen conveys the opposite.

Although the Department of State, USAID, and others have invested millions in development and governance projects, the perception both in the US and in Yemen is that US policy is singularly focused on AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]. The Yemeni people need to know that their country is more than a proxy battleground and that the US long-term commitment to the stability, development, and legitimacy of the country matches the more immediate and urgent commitment to the defeat of AQAP. To do that, the US should fundamentally shift its approach beyond the narrow focus on counterterrorism and should clearly articulate that it seeks to advance Yemen’s social, economic, and political development. The US should recalibrate its economic and governance assistance so that it represents a greater proportion of overall assistance compared with military and security assistance. The US needs to ensure that its focus is on achieving long-term goals, not only short-term objectives." Image from

Exclusive LGBT Pride Interview with Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy - Tanya Domi, "Under Secretary of State Tara D. Sonenshine, who is the chief of public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department, gave an exclusive interview to The New Civil Rights Movement this week on the occasion of LGBT Pride month.  Sonenshine, who came to the State Department from the U.S. Institute of Peace as the Executive Vice-President, has a distinguished career in communications and government, including an award winning tenure in television journalism at ABC’s Nightline as a producer and reporter where she garnered 10 Emmy news awards.  She was sworn in on April 24th and  is the seventh person to hold this position (the photograph of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulating Under Secretary Sonenshine following her swearing-in was provided by the author). Just two months into her tenure, the savvy social media under secretary can be found on Twitter @Tsonenshine.

This week she makes her inaugural debut in a live global  tweet on Wednesday, June 27, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Using @StateDept with hashtag #AskState or @USAenEspanol using hashtag #AskUSA (seven other languages will also be accessible), interested followers can ask Sonenshine questions about the State Department and her responsibilities. Since her swearing-in, Sonenshine  has hit the ground running, traveling to China (along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Chen Guangcheng crisis) and later to Pakistan. In between, she delivered graduation remarks to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs graduating class. And not skipping a beat as she pivoted into June’s Pride month, Sonenshine enthusiastically shared the latest public diplomacy efforts to promote LGBT human rights over the weekend in Germany, where the U.S. Embassy participated in Berlin’s famous Christopher Street Day parade. According to Sonenshine, Ambassador Philip Murphy joined Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, other diplomats and local politicians to open this year’s parade. U.S. Mission staff and (gays and lesbians in foreign affairs agencies) representatives from Frankfurt and Hamburg came to Berlin to participate alongside their Berlin colleagues. A cheering crowd of between 500,000 and 700,000 watched the parade wind its way through central Berlin–from Kreuzberg, through Mitte, before ending in front of the Reichstag (the national parliament building)." Clinton and Sonenshine image from article

Public Schedule for June 28, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: 12:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks at American Security Project, in Washington, DC. ... 2:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks at a departure event for participants of Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program, at the Department of State ... 3:15 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine addresses American Fulbright students and scholars at their departure orientation, at the Department of State ... 5:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends the annual Dean Acheson lecture series, featuring U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at the United States Institute of Peace."

Public Schedule for June 27, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine hosts a live Q&A via Twitter, at the Department of State. Please click here for more information. 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a meeting at the White House. ... 1:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine and Under Secretary Otero co-host a luncheon to discuss youth issues with foreign ambassadors, at the Department of State.”

UT Partners with US State Department to Empower Women, Girls through Sports - "The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is partnering with the US Department of State to engage women and girls from around the world through sports. UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has been awarded a $1.2 million cooperative agreement to implement the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative. The center is part of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. The initiative, a key diplomatic effort by the State Department, aims to engage young girls and women on how success in athletics can develop important life skills and improve academic achievement. It also is designed to increase cross-cultural understanding between international participants and Americans. 'We’re honored to be selected and to be part of this important US public diplomacy effort,' center director Sarah Hillyer said. Hillyer and center co-director Ashleigh Huffman were in Washington, DC, last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, the flagship component of the initiative. UT is crafting the program’s curriculum and will coordinate the logistics, including travel and lodging.

Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, noted that 'the University of Tennessee’s legacy of empowering women and girls through sports is a rich one. We look forward to partnering together to blaze new paths where girls world wide can pursue their potential,' she said. About 135 girls and women from developing countries will participate in the program. The initiative has three components: the US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, which pairs up to twenty international emerging leaders with leading American women in the sports world; Sports Visitors, which brings women and girls from overseas to the United States for an exchange that teams them up with their American counterparts; and Sports Envoys, which will send professional US athletes, coaches, and sports administrators overseas to engage underserved youth in clinics and leadership discussions." Image from article, with caption: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Sarah Hillyer (center) and Ashleigh Huffman (right) of the UT Center for Sport, Peace, and Society on Thursday, June 21

Empowering Girls & Women Through Sport Across the Globe - Impact blog, "Even though great progress has been made to provide equal access to education and sports opportunities for girls and women across the country, there is still so much work to be done. Today there are 1.3 million fewer opportunities for girls than boys to participate in high school athletics and girls often still receive inferior equipment, facilities and scheduling. The President’s Council understands the importance of everyone having access to sports and physical activity and supports the many organizations around the country that are working to further opportunities for young girls, promoting and investing in the next generation leaders. This issue is not limited to the United States. I have seen this first hand through my work as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. In many countries, women and girls do not have the same opportunities that we have here in America. If fact, there are some countries where cultural or political mandates for females, including specific attire and access to fitness facilities and programs, make it unsafe or impossible for them to participate in sports.

I have traveled around the world, using my experience in sports as a tool for diplomacy to strengthen international relationships and impact change by offering solutions to cultural barriers that affect female participation in sports. It is important for me as an envoy and Council member to help women and girls discover how athletics can help them develop life skills and achieve success in the classroom. The State Department recently launched an initiative called 'Empowering Women and Girls through Sports,' with a goal to increase the number of females worldwide who are involved in sports. A component of this initiative called the Global Sports Mentoring Program was created to connect international and American women and girls and to create sustainable sports opportunities for underserved women and girls worldwide. As a member of the Council to Empower Women and Girls through Sports, I am proud to be part of this program, alongside current and retired athletes, coaches, executives, journalists, and social activists. Together, we will engage audiences at home and abroad to elevate the conversation about sports participation opportunities for women and girls." Kwan image from entry

U.S. seeks to influence a youthful world: In places like Zimbabwe and Zambia, America is competing with China for hearts and minds of the next generation - Thomas F. Schaller, "[T]he U.S. State Department (which, full disclosure, sponsored my trip here and to Zambia) is preoccupied with building relations with global youth. Relatedly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (America's third woman to serve as America's top diplomat) has prioritized outreach programs for women, especially in those corners of the planet where gender parity is a notional absurdity and female subjugation is often a national tragedy. 'Young people tend to focus a lot on their future, rightfully so,' says Sharon Hudson-Dean, the public affairs director for the U.S. mission in Zimbabwe. 'The big problems develop in places where they can't see a future — no jobs, poor educational opportunities, death from HIV/AIDS. That is where the intersection of our foreign policy and young people is most important. ... Zimbabwean high school seniors graduated last Friday from the United States Achievers Program. All 21 are headed to American universities this autumn on fully paid scholarships worth a combined, four-year total of $4.7 million. Built from nothing in 1999 in Zimbabwe by State Department educational adviser Rebecca Zeigler Mano, the program has since expanded to 13 other developing nations. Every one of the nearly 300 students Ms. Zeigler Mano has sent to the states has graduated, with an average GPA of 3.86. Why does any of this matter? Here's why: At top diplomatic levels, the United States worries about resource-hungry China's deep investments in Africa. The Chinese are building literal bridges, but the metaphorical bridges the United States builds provide a critical counterbalance in the battle for the hearts and minds of millennial generations in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world."

Iraq Students to Get Music Training from Clayton Graduate - "Clayton High School graduate Patrick David Clark will leave St. Louis on Wednesday to teach music composition to high school students in Iraq. 'It's really a cultural exchange, it's not a one way thing,' said Clark, who holds a master's in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri (MU).

He expects to learn a lot about Iraqi and Kurdish culture during his visit, and he hopes to present what he knows as an American composer. He will teach until July 15 in Erbil—the country's fourth-largest city—as part of American Voices, according to a news release. For 16 years, the organization has presented summer arts education and programming throughout the world. He will work at American Voices' YES Academy." Image from article; via

The BBG’s Culture of Secrecy - Helle Dale, "[A]s the BBG defends press freedom abroad, it seems to be doing the opposite at home, a deeply concerning trend antithetical to its core mission." See also.

Rep. Rohrabacher – BBG strikes blows against government transparency and Congressional oversight - BBG watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "In a letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) condemned the recently-passed BBG resolution on non-disclosure of internal deliberative information as 'a blow to government transparency and a threat to the abilities of Congress to effectively conduct oversight.'”

Tips for Success: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century - Gabby LaVerghetta, A Hard Look at Soft Power: Global Public Diplomacy: Questions, comments and perspectives from a group of American University graduate students regarding global shifts of communication and information: "The 21st century has changed the game of public diplomacy by injecting more players and new tools. During the first twelve years of the new century, the U.S. has learned several lessons about how to succeed in public diplomacy with these new rules. Alec Ross presents one of the lessons – the lesson that technology is a neutral tool. Developments in the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring highlighted that technologies can be used to enforce existing ideologies. They are just as potent for protesters as for authoritarian governments. A second lesson is that public information is global information. The traditional separation between U.S. public diplomacy and public affairs is impractical and illogical. Knowing all of this, U.S. public diplomacy faces a host of challenges, ranging from organizational issues to the rise of citizen diplomacy. A condensed list might look like this, with each item building on the previous: National strategy [;] Organizational issues[;] More stakeholders."

When matching the strategic objective of preventing war to resources, can the US Navy prevent war in the 21st century, and if so, how? - Jan Van Tol, "For the purposes of the Cooperative Strategy (CS21), what does 'war' mean? What does 'preventing' entail? Only with some reasonable working definition of those terms in the CS21 context is it possible even to consider whether the US Navy could accomplish the stated objective of 'preventing war,' and what resources it might require to do so. CS21 describes a litany of 'Challenges of a New Era.' It suggests the diverse consequences of globalization, increased demand and competition for resources, widespread access to information, and growing proliferation

of technologies with military applications to an ever broader range of state and non-state actors are all potential sources of future conflict. ... The central tension within CS21 thus lies with its imperative to use seapower in conjunction with the joint force and perhaps other agencies of government to prevent any significant disruptions of the global system (of which those caused by wars may be the worst) versus the traditional requirements to deter and if necessary win wars directly involving the United States and its allies should they occur. That tension is unnecessarily and unreasonably intensified by CS21’s exhaustive list of factors that the United States and the Navy should act to ameliorate in order to prevent conflicts from breaking out. To note a few problems with this expansive view: ... Non-emergency humanitarian assistance efforts, while useful for the sake of public diplomacy, are necessarily far too small in scale to ameliorate internal sources of turmoil such as corruption, mass poverty and underdevelopment serious enough to threaten governments. ... The US Navy ... can ... play a major role in helping to prevent (deter) the outbreak of the most dangerous kind of wars, those involving aggression by major adversaries, whether directly against the United States or its forces or against genuine US allies and selected other security partners, by strongly reinforcing perceptions on their part that the Navy and the rest of the joint force exist first and foremost to fight and win in war. This is the critical element in preventing war. Navy resources not dedicated to that purpose are resources misallocated." Image from article, with caption: Which of these prevents war?

Victory – Consulate Stays In La! - Tomi Hinkkanen and Jonny Kahleyn, "Last October the Foreign Ministry of Finland announced plans to shut down the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles and move its operations to Silicon Valley. Finntimes mounted a vigorous campaign to keep the consulate in L.A. where we feel it rightfully belongs. ... The Foreign Ministry has revised their plans and made the absolutely right decision to keep the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles after all. ... Consul General of Finland

in Los Angeles, Kirsti Westphalen, has worked tirelessly to secure this monumental decision. She spoke exclusively to Finntimes right before the decision was made public. ... [Westphalen:] 'The major savings will come from our rent costs. Currently the Consulate General occupies an office in Century City. We will be looking at cheaper alternatives, which will not be too far from the current location. We are aiming to relocate in the 405-corridor in West L.A.. Substantial savings can be achieved this way. We also have to cut from our operating expenditure, but in such a way that we still hope to be able to retain our core functions to be of service to Finnish citizens and public diplomacy work on education and clean, sustainable solutions, including the support to creative Finns in Los Angeles.'” Image from article, with caption: Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles Kirsti Westphalen

Azeri "Public Diplomacy" in DC - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "You might or might not have heard of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held annually on the National Mall. I'll be honest, having lived in DC for three years now, it is the first time that I actually made it there . ... I was absolutely shocked (and honestly, pleasantly surprised - at first) to see 'Azerbaijani food' among other concessions (such as barbecue and comfort food). Putting the exclusive "Azerbaijani" label on dishes such as dolma or kebab was a little too politically incorrect, I thought (OK, they even had Efes, which is perhaps the one thing everyone will agree is not Azerbaijani). But if others do it, why can't Azeris do it, too... right? When I got to the Mall, I was curious to check out their food stand. The lines were pretty big. And yes, I was actually impressed, at first.

Then, I saw the T-shirts. Apparently, the Karabakh Foundation is also sponsoring twoevening Azerbaijani concerts - Mugham performances - which, although are not yet labeled as being related to ‘Karabakh’, will surely be used for related informational ends, as well. Nothing wrong with a political statement? The thing is, the Festival is supposedly about culture, heritage, and history, and with such a politically loaded statement and the promotion of the local region's culture as exclusively Azerbaijani, the Karabakh Foundation might have overstepped the bounds. And not just ‘a little bit’. The region has been very diverse for centuries (if not, millennia), even if one forgets the current de facto status on the ground. So, presenting it as ‘Azerbaijani’ at such an event actually defeats the very purpose of the festival (and of the Foundation itself), supposedly aimed at celebration and preservation of cultural heritage. All this within an environment where very few, if any, know about the issue at all, much less about the complexities involved. This, therefore, goes beyond the traditional public (or cultural) diplomacy, and easily crosses the line into manipulation and propaganda. However, I do not (and cannot) forget that there is the other side to it all, too: the Armenian propaganda side, taking similar (the same?) steps, just - perhaps - within a different context." Image from article

The Orientalist's Bizarro World - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Well, it took me less than a week to fall in love with Kurdistan. ... Traveling through the Middle East, my public diplomacy is usually in overdrive. No need here. I have had so many people say to me: Welcome, so nice to have an American here; Americans are our brothers.' It[']s nice not to feel like I have to be so guarded. Meanwhile, while people are religious here, it is much more low key and tolerance seems pretty across the board. It's like all the fun of my Orientalist dreams without the animosity, religiosity and angst. I could really see myself doing more work here. ... Kurdish PD, here I come."

Set-backs in Taiwan's soft power - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "My core belief about Taiwan's soft power strategy is that it emphasises the wrong story: the narratives of Taiwan's successful democratisation and its current position as the first Chinese democracy are routinely ignored in favour of attempts to label Taiwan as the preserver of traditional Chinese culture. However, there is a significant flaw in my argument to which I need to draw attention, and that flaw is the continued use of the death penalty."

PM asks Foreign Office to project soft image of Pakistan - "Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was given detailed briefings by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Secretary Foreign Affairs Jalil Abbas Jilani and other relevant senior officials on Pakistan’s foreign policy at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday. The prime minister in his observation underscored the importance of projecting a soft image of Pakistan through public diplomacy by encouraging people to people contacts, cultural exchanges and promotion of business and trade the world over.

The prime minister also emphasised the urgency of interacting with the third generation of expatriate Pakistanis especially those living in Europe and the USA as sustainability of their attachment with Pakistan will be a great asset for the country. The prime minister directed the Foreign Office that it should focus on African countries as well because there exists immense potential of bilateral cooperation and that is the reason as to why focus of many emerging powers was shifting to those countries." Image from article, with caption: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on his arrival at Ministry of Foreign Affairs for briefing on Thursday

Pakistan Embassy in UAE holds lecture on Regional Peace and Security - "Embarking on yet another public diplomacy initiative and the first-ever of its kind, the Pakistan Embassy in the UAE Wednesday organized interactive lecture on regional and trans-regional route to peaceful coexistence and collective security as a means to raising awareness on contemporary political discourse. Pakistan s envoy to the Emirates Jamil Ahmed Khan delivered the hour-long lecture which drew a good number of participants including university students, academics and guests from other walks of life. During the course of his talk, Ambassador Khan underscored the importance of regional alliances in maintaining collective peace and security in various parts of the world."

‘sup, Diplomacy? World Edition – Cameo Cheung, "This is the first in an ongoing series featuring students and alumni of the Syracuse University Public Diplomacy Program. Coming at you from Kampala, Uganda; capital of the Pearl of Africa (so named by Winston Churchill on his tour of Africa back in the day). As an intern with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in democracy/governance/conflict and public affairs, I have spent much of the last month catching up

on the incredible work that USAID is doing in Uganda. I am coming to understand that much of USAID’s work in supporting, implementing, and overseeing programs carefully and consciously aligns with broader U.S. government priorities. Each person’s role in the grand scheme may seem small, but every one of my colleagues is also integral to ensuring the long-term success of the agency’s development work. ... The more I get into this work, the more each experience reinforces my conviction that the decision to pursue public diplomacy was the right one for me." Image from entry, with caption: Cameo Cheung by the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala, Uganda

Status of individual leadership initiatives of phase IV - Hope Fellowships: "Hope Fellows that implemented their leadership initiatives [include]: ... Arjeta Emra: 'Strategic and Coordinated Public Diplomacy.'”

Real Time Diplomacy in the Social Media Era with Philip Seib - "Title: Real Time Diplomacy in the Social Media Era with Philip Seib Description: Tuesday, July 10 6:00pm Reception 6:30pm Lecture 8:00pm Dinner Cost: Reception & Lecture only: Free for Members; $10 for Guests Reception, Lecture & Dinner: $49++ for Members; $59++ for Guests Philip Seib’s new book, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era, offers insights into one of the most important challenges of the 21st century: How can policymakers shift away from being mere spectators and address the political realities of a social media- oriented society? Real-Time Diplomacy analyzes the essential, but often unhappy, marriage between diplomacy and new media, evaluating media’s reach and influence, and determining how policy makers might take advantage of media’s real-time capabilities rather than being driven by them.

In Real-Time Diplomacy, Professor Seib asks a vital question: How can any policymaker keep afloat in the flood of information coming from a vast number of sources? And, as the events of 2011 illustrate, power can emanate from the public, and so developing and maintaining ties with publics around the world is an essential element of foreign policy. Philip Seib, Princeton class of 1970, is a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and is director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy. He is the author and editor of many books, including Headline Diplomacy, The Global Journalist, Beyond the Front Lines, The Al Jazeera Effect, and Toward a New Public Diplomacy." Image from


Survey: Anti-US sentiment on the rise in Pakistan - Los Angeles Times: In the last couple of years, Washington has tried to earmark a bigger chunk of its aid to Pakistan for civilian projects that would engender goodwill with the country's intensely anti-American populace. The latest polling suggests that the step-up in that aid isn't doing any good.

About 75% of Pakistanis regard the U.S. as an enemy, according to a new poll released this week by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. Three years ago, 64% of Pakistanis surveyed said they viewed America as an enemy. A growing number of Pakistanis also feel that improving relations with Washington isn't a major priority, the poll found. Last year, 60% of Pakistanis surveyed said strengthening ties with the U.S. was important; this year only 45% said they feel the same way. According to the Pew survey, only 17% of Pakistanis surveyed said they support U.S. drone strikes as a tactic against Islamic militants based in Pakistan. Image from article

Payouts to jobless troops exiting military approach $1B - Gregg Zoroya, USA Today: The cost of unemployment compensation for troops leaving the military without jobs approached a billion dollars last year, though the rate of increase slowed to just 2% over 2010, figures from the Department of Labor show. A key factor behind the trend easing was that the Army, the largest of the services, saw the benefits it pays out decline slightly from 2010 to 2011. The military spent $944 million last year in unemployment benefits — the largest amount since the recession of 2008.

Burma’s lure is a slippery slope - Editorial Board, Washington Post: So far, the Obama administration has carefully modulated its Burma policy, easing sanctions to welcome fragile democratic progress while recognizing the long distance still to cover. Now the modulation is at risk. Administration officials are debating whether to allow U.S. oil companies to do business with Burma’s state-owned energy company. U.S. companies reportedly have been lobbying hard. The state-owned oil company has been on the wrong side. Until it takes steps to shift over, the United States should show that it meant what Ms. Clinton said. Rather than give in to oil-industry arguments against leaving the field to other nations, the United States should lead those nations in insisting on transparency as a condition of investment.

Cut aid to Egypt's generals: In the face of a power grab by its armed forces, the U.S. should suspend some or all of its military aid to Cairo - Sarah Chayes, Military assistance is now flowing to Egypt at a rate of $170 million a month.

Beijing, a Boon for Africa - Dambisa Moyo, New York Times: Since China began seriously investing in Africa in 2005, it has been routinely cast as a stealthy imperialist with a voracious appetite for commodities and no qualms about exploiting Africans to get them. It is no wonder that the American government is lashing out at its new competitor — while China has made huge investments in Africa, the United States has stood on the sidelines and watched its influence on the continent fade. Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And to do so, China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking. Moreover, the evidence does not support a claim that Africans themselves feel exploited.

China rising as big market for big U.S. films: Threat of creeping censorship remains a major hurdle - James Frazier, The Washington Times: With its population of approximately 1.3 billion, China has Hollywood salivating at the prospect of its vast potential as a market for American movies. It’s probably no accident that China has been getting perceptibly friendlier treatment in American movies lately than Russia. In telling contrast with China, Russia remains a plentiful source of Hollywood villains.

Google Tries Something Retro: Made in the U.S.A. - John Markoff, New York Times: It’s a trickle, but some American companies

are again making products in the United States. Image from

The secret ingredient for successful cross-cultural communication - Jessica Stillman, According to David Livermore, president at the Cultural Intelligence Center, the really secret ingredient to leading cross-cultural teams well is simpler and rarer – good, old fashioned patience.

South Korean taxi driver arrested for North Korean propaganda - Nathan Schwartzman, On the 25th prosecutors in Incheon indicted 49-year-old Mr. A, a taxi driver, on charges of writing internet posts praising and sympathizing with North Korea in violation of the National Security Law. According to prosecutors, at the end of 2010 Mr. A began writing over 60 internet posts praising North Korea’s three-generation system, its Juche ideology, and its military-first policy.

Thought Control in Free Societies: The Propaganda Effect of the Mass Media - Ben Langan, In a world of unequal distribution of power the ability to communicate ideas will also be hierarchical. The ability to define and dictate the dominant agenda is in the hands of the mass media. The most urgent function of the media should be to hold to account our own institutions of power, and sometimes this means telling people what they don’t want to hear. This will not happen until principled and educated citizens begin to challenge their narratives.

Social networking propaganda posters were designed to win likes and minds - Much like in the console vs PC, iOS vs Android, and Mac vs Windows battles, there are social network fanboys. There are Facebook fans who scoff at Twitter, Twitter fans who think Google+ is a ghost town, and G+ fans who think the other social networks are for less evolved creatures. In fact, it gets so bad sometimes that members of the media have cheekily referred to these conversations as battles in the “Social Networking War.”

Graphic Designer Aaron Wood is no stranger to social networks, but seeing these verbal and literal skirmishes over social networks drove him to put together a collection of fantastically amusing social propaganda posters in a book. The book, titled “They Wanted a War, So I Made it a War” is a collection of 26 posters with a page explaining the inspiration behind each. These posters look like propaganda posters, with each social network as a warring faction. Image from entry


--Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with his youngest son Nikolai. Image from



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 26

Posted: 26 Jun 2012 08:38 AM PDT

"It's a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it."

--W. H. AudenAuden image from


Kindles Are Nice... - Brian Carlson, Public Diplomacy Council: "A couple of weeks ago the State Departmentannounced plans to enter a 16.5 million dollar, five-year agreement with Amazon  to purchase Kindle tablets and assorted services for public diplomacy. There is a lot of enthusiasm these days about tablets, e-readers and electronic books. The contract reportedly will deliver an initial tranche of 2,500 Kindles to American libraries, cultural centers, American Corners, and other kinds of reading rooms and 'spaces' operated by embassies forpublic diplomacy purposes. As part of the deal Amazon  also will manage 'content distribution,' as well as support an online bookstore, international 3G services, device registration, and a help desk. It is unclear whether those services are more than what Amazon already does for its customers outside the U.S. Under the contract, the State Department can acquire up to 7,000 Kindles annually. Amazon will be responsible for upgrading software and enabling a text-to-speech capability on the Kindles.  ... Most interesting however is the contract’s statement that Amazon will maintain metrics on how content is accessed on all the devices. The data will include 'content accessed, content not accessed, length of time that content is viewed, e-reader features used and content downloaded. The format for reporting will be developed with and approved by the Department of State but will include reporting by country and e-reader serial number.' Done well, with a healthy application of Amazon’s considerable market analysis capability, this aspect of the deal could provide some new and unprecedented insight into the public diplomacy audience’s habits. 

After all, being able to analyze how each Kindle is used could begin to enable the Department to adjust and improve its content offerings.  If the Kindle usage data is cross tabbed with qualitative public diplomacyaudience research in a given city or region, embassy officers could begin to make data-driven decisions. This would be big. But I wonder why the Department did not address content in this deal with Amazon? Public diplomacy has a long and successful record of supporting the translation and distribution of key books and documents around the world.  Book translation and distribution might not be sexy, but it is a model of public-private cooperation that has worked in many parts of the world, year after year. Embassy officers approach a publisher with an attractive offer: we’ll underwrite the translation from English to the local language, or other preparatory costs, if you (the publisher) will distribute the book at a price that makes it accessible to the target audience. In some cases the deal might include a certain number of copies for the embassy to present to reviewers or other influential folk.  ... Shouldn’t State’s public diplomacy make a content deal with Amazon? Shouldn’t we get books like Michael Lind’s  “Land of Promise,”  or some of the classics from the American bookshelf, into foreign languages?  Shouldn’t they be available to all our audiences as e-books? Kindles are nice, but content is king." Image from entry

Oh, Baloney. State Department Internet Freedom Fellows Emphasizes Defense of Freedoms Online - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "The Department of State, which apparently does not care whether anyone actually believes what they say, said this: [']At the Human Rights Council (HRC), the United States has consistently placed special emphasis on the protection and promotion of the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, because we understand that these fundamental freedoms are essential to facilitating the exercise of other universal rights. As activity in the economic, social, and the political realms gravitates from the offline world to the online world, we have an additional responsibility to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms are not eroded simply because they are being exercised in the digital realm. The United States is committed to the principle that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected in the online world. ['] 

Now, Welcome to My World [:] Imagine a world where your emails, web browsing, Facebook and Twitter are monitored, where you are threatened with prosecution at work, where government agents dig through your credit report and ask your neighbors and officemates for 'dirt' (some, scared, try to supply it), and where sudden 'compelled' interrogations shatter your life. Imagine being jerked out of your job of 24 years and placed on a Secret Service Watch List for publicly criticizing a government official, and then allowed back to work only in a capacity designed to humiliate you, and send a message to others to remain silent. Welcome to my world. Since writing a book and beginning this blog, all of the things listed above have happened to me, here, in the United States, and all done by my employer, the Department of State. The same organization that speaks out for the rights of bloggers in Syria, offers sanctuary to dissidents in China and promotes web freedom in Iran, has used all of the security tools at its disposal to silence a minor critic within its own ranks."

AFP's e-diplomacy tool maps tweets between world leaders - Kimber Streams, The Agence France-Presse (AFP) has released a new e-diplomacy tool that curates and maps tweets from heads of state and government, officials, thinkers, and activists. The app displays the most-used hashtags, measures an individual's influence (think Klout), and maps the relationships between these important figures. The e-diplomacy hub is an effective way to show which figures are talking about what issues, and where these public diplomatic dialogues are taking place. The site also has a section that displays the Twitter use of militant groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hamas and Hezbollah in Israel, as well as hacktivist group Anonymous. The tool is useful for seeing what these influential figures have to say in public, but it does not it does not give a clear picture of these diplomatic relationships — most negotiations and international relations still happen behind closed doors. The e-diplomacy app is currently open to the public, but AFP CEO Emmanuel Hoog said that after several months the tool may be commercialized for professional or media use.

ediplomacy AFP
The site also has a section that displays the Twitter use of militant groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hamas and Hezbollah in Israel, as well as hacktivist group Anonymous. The tool is useful for seeing what these influential figures have to say in public, but it does not it does not give a clear picture of these diplomatic relationships — most negotiations and international relations still happen behind closed doors. The e-diplomacy app is currently open to the public, but AFP CEO Emmanuel Hoog said that after several months the tool may be commercialized for professional or media use." Image from article

Richard Olson likely to succeed Munter as ambassador - "In approximately a month’s time, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter will step down from the position he has held for nearly two years. ... The only name that has been floating in US media reports has been of Richard Olson, who was most recently posted in the US embassy in Kabul. As of earlier this month, Ambassador Olson was listed as the assistant ambassador at the US embassy in Afghanistan and the coordinating director for development and economic affairs. 

His bio has been recently removed from the Kabul embassy’s website, and a replacement has been announced for the post he had held. A State Department spokesperson confirmed to The Express Tribune that Olson has left his post this month. According to his bio, he had previously served in Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Shamila Chaudhry, former White House national security council and director for Af-Pak, told The Express Tribune, that the new ambassador will have to balance two major needs: stabilising Pakistan-US relations, and support the US drawdown efforts in Afghanistan, which have suffered due to the closure of Nato supply routes in November of last year. Chaudhry said that the next ambassador will face difficulties specifically in pursuing counterterrorism goals that help the US in Afghanistan, while also promoting public diplomacy, development and economic growth goals in Pakistan. Wendy Chamberlin, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, told The Express Tribune that some of the key challenges that the new ambassador will face is not just to explain what America is thinking for the Pakistani people, but also explain Pakistan to Washington." Olson image from article 

The Failure of “Quiet Diplomacy” in China - Seth Mandel, Commentary: "When Chinese anti-forced-abortion activist and dissident Chen Guangcheng attempted to use Hillary Clinton’s visit to China earlier this year to get his family to safety abroad, his efforts and those of the State Department appeared to have failed just hours before a deal was struck to save Chen. The narrative of that story held that a Republican House committee chaired by Chris Smith–which called a hearing on the case as it was developing–and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had behaved recklessly in drawing such public attention to the case and appearing to hand down judgment on the case before diplomacy had a chance to work. Typical of this attitude was a comment from Chinese politics expert Steve Tsang to the U.K. Guardian, as the story unfolded: 'Public diplomacy or grandstanding will limit the scope for quiet diplomacy.' We have plenty of counterexamples in recent history that challenge this theory, but it appears now we don’t need to employ them. ... It turns out that Clinton got a nice boost from a game-changer: Republicans in Congress who made Chen’s plight as visible and public as possible, convincing the Chinese the game was out of the shadows and the world was watching. ... [I]t seems 'quiet diplomacy' got nowhere until Chris Smith turned up the volume back home."

Coker Dance Residency Part of Cultural Diplomacy Initiative - "As part of the Department of State’s Center Stage initiative, internationally renowned choreographer Jean-RenĂ© Delsoin will bring his 10-member troupe from Haiti to Hartsville for a public performance at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 24 in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center’s Watson Theater. 'Jean-Rene Delsoin doesn’t design his dance classes like a simple transmission of savoir-faire. He certainly believes in how precisely movements are executed, but he also shares the love and passion he feels for dance with his students. He works tirelessly to communicate to all, young and old, the blessed fire of dance and as such, reinvents the world every day,' explained renowned Haitian writer and activist Yanick Lahens. ... An initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Center Stage brings compelling contemporary artists from Haiti, Indonesia and Pakistan to the United States to engage Americans in cultural diplomacy as a way to create opportunities for greater understanding. Administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts, with funding from the Asian Cultural Council, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, this public-private partnership is the largest public diplomacy effort to bring foreign artists to American stages in recent history." See also.

VOA, Radio Sawa, BBC transmitters in Iraq may be shut down due to licensing issues - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Paul Calvert Spoke With Daniel Seaman - "Daniel Seaman is the Deputy Director General for Information at the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. He is one of the foremost experts on the foreign press coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Paul Calvert spent some time with him hearing his thoughts on the ongoing conflict with the Palestinian people, bias in the press and the growing threat of a nuclear armed Iran. Paul: What is the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs? Daniel: It's the Ministry that handles the Public Diplomacy; the image or projecting the image of Israel and presenting the State of Israel to the international community. The Diaspora Affairs aspect is another element, which deals with the Jewish communities around the world, on the public diplomacy level, but mostly on the mutual interests of Israel and the Jewish people. ... Israel 

is a very normal western country. There's nothing unusual here that will be news worthy unless there is some tragedy. Other facets of Israeli society don't get covered; its contributions to human kind; the fact that we are a country of seven million in a very small area; you can cover the State of Israel from north to south within four hours drive and this small area has absorbed over half of its population or immigrants and refugees. Nobody knows about our Jewish refugee problem, because we haven't turned it into a problem, we've turned it into strength. We have taken all these difficulties we've had to encounter in 64 years and turned them into advantages. ... If you want to use the term the media uses against us, when again Israel is singled out for certain behaviour, when Israel is expected to be perfect and we cannot make mistakes and when mistakes are made we are accused of making it deliberately; these things have an anti-Semitic tone to them." Image from article

Neil Lazarus speaks about the Israel Public Diplomacy Program - "Neil Lazarus talks about Israel and Real Life Israel’s Public Diplomacy Program . ... Real Life Israel ... is already endorsed by a number of partnerships including The Israeli Government, The David Project, various Federations in the US and Neil Lazarus." 

Julie Bishop on the Pacific, PNG and Australian aid - "Speaking at the ANU’s Crawford School at a public lecture hosted by the Development Policy Centre, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, painted a new vision of Australia’s relations with the Pacific, calling on Australia to 'show the leadership and vision that is expected of us in the Pacific' and backing 'the forging of true economic partnerships with our great friends' of the Pacific and PNG. ... Noting that talk of the Asian century can easily lead to the overlooking of the Pacific, Ms Bishop argued that the Government 'has taken its eyes off the region 

and has failed to show the necessary leadership or long-term vision that is required of it. Australia needs to create a new narrative that encompasses a shared vision for the Pacific.' Aid was important, but the relationship had to go beyond aid to encompass 'defence, trade, investment and diplomatic engagement throughout the region' all under a 'focused and effective, practical and principled overarching strategic framework.' In terms of concrete suggestions, Ms Bishop began with public diplomacy, calling for a better effort from Australian Network and better branding of Australian aid." Image from article.

7 Pillars of PD - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Screw Lawrence of Arabia, I am becoming Don Pablo of Kurdistan. Because what did good ol' Lawrence do if not PD for Arabia; I would be happy to do the same for Kurdlandia."

Image from entry

The Challenges of Real-Time Diplomacy: The Middle East and Beyond - Philip Seib, In diplomacy, as in other aspects of public policy, responding quickly and responding wisely might be very different. Good diplomatic practice should not be tossed aside, but it must adapt to the pace of events more comprehensively than it has to date. Part of this change must take place in the field, where diplomats should develop better contacts with the general population than they do today. This requires greater emphasis on public diplomacy. Working with publics, not just governments, is particularly important now that communications technologies have empowered individuals in terms of their ability to access information and connect with one another. As the events of 2011 illustrate, power can emanate from the public, and so developing and maintaining ties with publics around the world is an essential element of foreign policy. ... Doing so will require more resources than most countries make available today, and, more importantly, it means making public diplomacy much more central in the creation and implementation of foreign policy. This will require remapping the terrain of international relations, with traditional state-to-state linkages being enlarged to incorporate far more state-to-people programs than now exist and to make them much more integral in a nation’s diplomacy. ... This article is drawn from Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). About the author [:] Philip Seib is Professor of Journalism andPublic Diplomacy and Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He is also director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy and is the author of Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)"


Who Lost Egypt? Egyptians, obviously. Obama and Bush, too. And a superficial idea of 'freedom' [subscription] - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal 

What to Expect From the Muslim Brotherhood: Egyptians deserve a decent interval before Western observers consign them again to a despotic fate - Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal: hose who had given the reign of Hosni Mubarak three decades of indulgence are unwilling to see in the last 18 months the birth pangs of a democratic possibility. They forget or ignore even recent history, how the Egyptian people had abandoned politics and all but given up on their country. A new hope has arisen in that weary country. Are Egyptians not entitled to a decent interval before we consign them, yet again, to a despotic fate?

Whose Spring? The CIA's Hand In The Rise of Islamists And International Terrorist Groups - Saman Mohammadi, Policy-wise, there is no difference that separates the Bush administration from the Obama administration in their approach to the Middle East. Regime change is the name of the game. Financing and arming terrorists is done by the CIA, Mossad, and their Arab clients at the word go. Washington's goal is to destabilize Syria, overthrow the regime, and split Syrian society apart. Washington is waging its war against Syria under a thick layer of propaganda smoke provided by government-controlled media channels and newspapers. 

As part of its larger criminal effort to change the regime in Syria, Washington is spreading false information through Western and Arab media outlets to discredit Assad as a viable leader. It is using propaganda in an attempt to brainwash the West into believing that the violence in Syria is the result of the regime's response to democratic protests, not NATO's malicious destabilization campaign and acts of terrorism. Image from

China: Easy on That Whole Democracy Thing, Burma - John Hudson, In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda: China tells Burma democracy isn't that great, Saudi Arabia funds propaganda in Syria, and an American propagandist loses work. 

The propaganda of Soviet Union during World War - II - Among the posters - “The West – road to victory!”


--From LV on facebook

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 23-June 25

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."

--Oscar Wilde; Wilde image from


(a) The propaganda behind Obama's drone war -

(b) Video of the Week: Secretary Clinton Dons Wild-Cat Eye Glasses for Mike Hammer’s Swearing In


ASP EVENT: The Honorable Tara Sonenshine: The Future of American Public Diplomacy - American Security project: "American public diplomacy has turned a new page with the arrival of Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has struggled to define its foreign messaging in an evolving international system. Why is this the case, and what should be done to strengthen the way America communicates its ideals and policies overseas? Join us as the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs discusses her plans, her ideas, and the challenges she foresees during her tenure. ... The briefing will take place on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at ASP’s office: 1100 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC Suite 710W – Conference Room E The briefing will begin promptly at 12:30. Please arrive by 12:00 for registration."


Why do some Muslims hate America? Researchers offer an intriguing new answer - "The effort poured into diplomacy and public relations to counter anti-American sentiment among some Muslims has so far ignored the main source of their anti-US feeling - competing political factions in their own countries.In groundbreaking study in the American Political Science Review (APSR) published by Cambridge University Press, Lisa Blaydes of Stanford and Drew A. Linzer of Emory University examine the views of thousands of Muslims across the Islamic world on American culture and American foreign policy for their paper, 'Elite Competition, Religiosity, and Anti-Americanism in the Islamic World'. In a finding that could potentially have far-reaching effects for how the US shapes and conducts its outreach to Islamic countries, Blaydes and Linzer conclude that the main explanation for high levels of anti-American opinion in a given country depends, not as previously thought on Muslim perceptions of what America is culturally or what it does politically, but on the degree of competition between the political elites within that country itself. Policy-makers and the public often assume that the most religious and fundamentalist Islamic societies are most anti-American, but the research suggests this is incorrect: really anti-American Muslim societies tend to have strong secular groups. Analysis of a huge amount of survey data collected from 13,000 Muslims in 21 countries showed that those countries where people expressed the most anti-American views were also those where two powerful political elites (one Islamist and one secular) were competing fiercely with each other for supporters.

In countries where this did not apply, the amount of anti-Americanism expressed was significantly lower. Blaydes and Linzer conclude that these battling political forces are prone to exploit grievances against the United States for political gain and, in the process, create a heightened sense of anti-American feeling among their citizens. Media outlets such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya also played a significant role, but Blaydes and Linzer's central tenet is that competing national politicians are the main force behind high levels of hatred of America. ... The implications for how US diplomacy goes about winning over public opinion in the most anti-American countries is clear, [says] Linzer. They must find ways to counter the messages being put out by the competing political forces within those countries: 'A core assumption made by those who advocate increasing investment in public diplomacy campaigns is that anti-Americanism stems from poor 'strategic communication' on the part of the US. The results of our study suggest, instead, that Muslim publics are highly responsive to messages from their own domestic elites and the media that report what they say about America. Any American-led effort to change the story in the most anti-American countries will have to find a way to counter the effects on Muslim minds of local politicians spouting anti-US rhetoric in order to bolster their own positions and win supporters.'" Image from

China and Public Diplomacy: Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011 - Nick Zahn, "Testimony before Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Enforcement United States House [,] June 20, 2012 [.] My name is Nick Zahn. I am the Asia Communications Fellow and Director of the Washington Roundtable for the Asia Pacific Press at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation. ... The Washington Roundtable for the Asia Pacific Press at The Heritage Foundation is unique among this town’s think tanks. My duty is to get to know the Asian media markets and press corps for purposes of promoting Heritage’s work and ideas. This responsibility has given me a first-hand understanding of how these reporters—including China’s—operate. In preparing my testimony, I have drawn from this daily interaction as well as some of Heritage’s broader work on public diplomacy. As I look at any comparison between the way the U.S. and China handle one another’s government/party sponsored press, two inequities jump out at me: funding and visas. Funding is the more difficult issue, as all China’s major media outlets, including those operating overseas, are state- or party-controlled. The U.S. cannot—and should not—emulate that model. Still, the comparison illustrates well what we are up against. Varying reports indicate that China’s overseas investment in state media is between six and seven billion dollars. Compare that with the U.S. government’s single largest investment in public diplomacy, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors who have requested $720 million in fiscal year 2013. But the difference in budgets is not the most disproportionate ratio. That would have to go to the sheer number of Chinese journalists allowed visas to work in the United States compared with the number that U.S. state-sponsored press receive from China. Similar to structural disparities in funding, the U.S. has no corresponding interest to the Chinese in limiting access to reporters. This is a principled difference between open and closed societies. Yet, there is enormous space to demand a semblance of reciprocity, and if this requires limiting or revoking journalist visas to encourage progress on their end, this is something the U.S. should do. ... [T]here should be parity between the numbers of China’s state-sponsored media allowed U.S. visas and Chinese visas granted to their U.S. government–employed counterparts. The mandate of VOA and RFA is to broadcast local and domestic news to countries where a free press does not exist. The U.S. government should support the U.S. BBG’s efforts to fulfill that mandate. The United States and the PRC are in a contest of ideas. We believe in the idea that governments exist to protect the rights of the people. Opposing that idea is the notion of a government striving to protect itself from the people. If the disparity between the courses our two countries are taking is not addressed, if the United States does not adjust and use all means of diplomacy at its disposal to counter the current trend in the imbalance of state-funded press between the U.S. and China, over time the prestige of the United States will be made to suffer and our influence as a force for good will be diminished."

US Embassy builds capacity of…US Embassy (photo) - El Snarkistani, "This one’s for the Diplopundit. And this took over a year? Don’t they have Macbooks at the Embassy? So part of Crocker’s legacy at the Embassy, besides being really excited about how much money has been siphoned out of the country due to massive corruption, and making sure that the majority of Department of State staff in this country never left Kabul, is the eponymous TV studio that took over a year to complete. Now, instead of outsourcing ridiculous television ventures, the Embassy staff can now be inept all on their own. God bless the USA.

Image from article, with caption: The Ryan C. Crocker Expeditionary Production Studio was dedicated on 24 June with a ribbon cutting at the Embassy by Ambassador Crocker and Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy, Eileen O’Connor. The production studio, which took over one year to complete, will give the Embassy the ability to do live television broadcasts and studio quality videos for the web.

U.S. Public Diplomacy Requires a Paradigm Shift - Global Public Diplomacy: "The amount of funding that is directed towards hard power forces such as the military greatly outweighs that intended for public diplomacy, and that speaks volumes about what the United States values and understands to be strength. As noted above, any public diplomacy solutions should be thought of in a long-term way. A more sustained interest and effort in building and maintaining relationships would make any initiatives more effective."

The Folly of Kindle Diplomacy: The U.S. partnership with Amazon won’t help dissidents spread ideas. It will only bolster conspiracy theorists - Evgeny Morozov, Slate: "[T]he U.S. State Department has finally announced an ambitious partnership with Amazon. (Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos and Hillary Clinton were supposed to appear at a joint press-conference Wednesday, but it has been postponed because of Clinton's schedule.) The program—which is slated to run over the next five years—would see the State Department spend up to $16.5 million to purchase a maximum of 35,000 Kindles as well as to pay for content (i.e., books) and delivery costs. A fully equipped Kindle costs about $200, so this leaves almost $10 million that can be spent on books—which, given Amazon's low prices, might easily mean 1 million units. Where would these Kindles go? The idea is to ship them to more than 800 designated libraries, public reading rooms, and cultural centers—frequented by more than 6 million young people per year—that the U.S. State Department supports around the globe. The rationale behind the initiative looks solid—at least, in theory. ... [But] regardless of how superb and efficient e-readers, social networks, or search engines might be for information delivery, it's wrong to think of them as mere tools with stable and coherent meanings (let alone with clear and easily predictable effects). Once embraced by the U.S. government, these tools no longer exist in the geopolitical vacuum of Silicon Valley. A lengthy and complex history of American foreign policy, Washington's ongoing experiments with cyberweapons, Silicon Valley's previous run-ins with authoritarian governments—these are just some of the many factors that set the stage for how these tools will be interpreted. In other words, their meanings, capabilities, and effects depend on who is looking and why. This is not to embrace defeatism or suggest that diplomats have no business experimenting with the latest technology. But diplomats have to do it in full awareness that their benign intentions might be misinterpreted and occasionally backfire. Often, their quest for innovation may not even be worth it—particularly if it risks making things worse in the long run. Alas, everything we know about the partnership between the State Department and Amazon suggests that American diplomats have no such awareness. A dream device for dissidents remains just that—a dream."

The states of eDiplomacy - petecranston, "‘After a long, competitive selection process we are then told we know nothing and can’t use the knowledge and skills we bring with us’, said an exasperated new foreign diplomat based in Rome from a diplomatic service which lags a long way behind the mainstream in its adoption of social media and the other tools of eDiplomacy. It was especially surprising to hear of such myopia in Italy where 73% of the online population are on Facebook (approx 37% of the population), making it Facebook’s 11th most active market. The majority of the approximately 80 participants at the eDiplomacy day held at the Instituto Diplomatico in Rome this week told more positive stories about how their own Ministries are engaging with the digital landscape. For example, Ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni, introducing the evening expert panel session, described how the Embassy of Switzerland in Italy employs the experience of younger diplomats in their drive to engage online.

In a time of constrained and reducing budgets, resource issues were understandably high on the agenda. Few countries could match the three staff working on communication at the US Embassy in Rome. Yet, like the Italian Instituto itself, most are creatively redeploying and retraining staff to be able to engage with what the majority recognised as essential tools for public diplomacy. Stefano Baldi, the Director of the Instituto illustrated how they are using all kinds of technology from video streaming to blogging, as can be seen in this impressively rapidly turned around video from the Italian Ministry (up a long time before I could complete this blog!). ... MFAs like the US, the Canadian and the UK FCO have been using social media tools for over three to four years and they have learned how to maximise returns from investing limited resources. Other later adopters are engaging with enormous enthusiasm but are likely to experience something of a backlash – a descent into the Trough of Disillusionment – as longer-term resource commitments become clearer, along with the typically slow build of a new online profile in a digital space which is becoming more and more crowded."

Don’t Forget the Public in Diplomacy - bb1790a: "Public Diplomacy 2.0 is an effective tool to reach the masses. It fills gaps when public diplomacy personnel budgets dwindle, and pings millions when a nation is wired, but it can leave behind the traditional and still necessary forms of public diplomacy. No public diplomacy (PD) officer can be in all places at all times, but public diplomacy 2.0 comes close. Today, a PD representative in front of a computer in a small room can draft an essay or shoot a video and post it to the web, available to billions of people with just a few strokes of a keyboard. Yet, while the Internet has provided new and necessary tools to forge dialogues with foreign populations, one must take great care to not overlook the traditional form of Public Diplomacy: a cup of coffee.

When questioning PD officials about 'the old ways of doing things', one common example was the mission to identify key communicators (any person able to influence a large segment of the population, from a journalist to a minister) in a community and influence them to spread the message of the day. This often required multiple meetings to discuss a range of things from family to what are the hot selling items at the local market. They often took place in coffee shops or living rooms over a cup of coffee or tea. PD officials were able to build up trust by developing rapport and familiarity with the key communicator. Only then could a relationship grow to the point where the communicator would be comfortable enough to spread public diplomacy messages. Today, too many practitioners believe the only key communicator necessary is the web." Image from entry

A Storm of Swords, A Storm of Sand - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "John and I dropped our stuff at the hotel, grabbed some breakfast of cheeses, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and hardboiled eggs, then we were met by Ari - a project manager for YES Academy Iraq and the director of the University of Duhok's music school. He took us over to the university, and the art complex which was pretty nice. The art complex had sculptures and murals done by students, and seemed like a nice environ. We spent the morning listening to auditions for strings, piano, rock, jazz and broadway classes. There was a talented breakdance crew from Duhok that could really move well. I think the highlight for the morning for me was a fellow who auditioned for the Broadway program by delivering a monologue from Hamlet in Kurdish. There were some talented kids, and some who will benefit from the lessons they will get from the YES Academy. This is grass-roots cultural diplomacy at its finest."

A 'failing' mark in public diplomacy - Yisrael Medad, "The State Comptroller's report on the Flotilla incident also included many dozens of pages critical of Israel's public diplomacy apparatus. I have just now viewed today's BBC interview with Israel's former Ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon.  His less-than-adequate performance or to be generous, his inability to see an opening when presented and blow a huge hole on behalf of Israel is indicative of ... problems."

UNESCO and the Politics of Official Culture in Israel/Palestine - Laith Ulaby: “Many countries have been aggressively pursuing official UNESCO recognition for their cultural productions. While World heritage Site and Intangible Cultural Heritage designations are officially intended to preserve cultures, they are often very effective at promoting tourism. Governments have also increasingly realized that official cultural recognition can bring legitimacy to official state narratives and contribute to soft power and public diplomacy efforts. In other cases, the designation can help protect minority groups by elevating their status and value to the state. While there are a host of criticisms regarding the notion of ‘preserving’ culture, things have become even more complicated as governments try to game the system for their own purposes. While there are a host of criticisms regarding the notion of 'preserving' culture in the first place, the system has gotten even more complicated as governments try to game the system for their own purposes.

Most recently the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has been attempting to win a World Heritage Site designation for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Undoubtedly this is a shrewd political move, on several levels, but the damage to an already battered classification will be unfortunate. For all the imperfections of UNESCO, and the UN in general, these designations are an important part of international multilateral cultural policy. This is of course not the first time that controversy has come from a UNESCO decision in Israel/Palestine. In 1974 Israel was stripped of its membership in UNESCO for its archeological activities on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. While Israel was allowed to return to full UNESCO membership a few years later, archeology has unfortunately been another victim and weapon in the ongoing dispute. It will be interesting to see how UNESCO navigates the tricky request of the PNA so as to give it full consideration without further damaging the designation’s reputation.” Image from article, with caption: Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

The Kurdish State - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The Kurds need more friends in the world, and that comes through better public diplomacy. If it were up to me, I would conduct robust Kurdistan nation-branding/cultural diplomacy campaigns . ... The Kurds (and the Taiwanese) need to take a page from Israeli public diplomacy and understand that support in America comes from the heartland."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its 10 month report to the Ethiopian Parliament - "The Minister’s presentation ... covered activities related to investment, noting the engagement with the Diaspora in development activities and the efforts aimed at mobilizing support for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) along with other public diplomacy works. ... The Ministry had also conducted numerous activities in public diplomacy and media relations. The Minister mentioned the encouraging results gained in putting the nation in a positive light as a result of the media relations conducted with 57 international institutions highlighting the changes visible in social, economic and political spheres.

He detailed the activities of Ethiopian missions abroad in increasing the participation of the Diaspora in the country’s development of the nation. There had been consultations and information provided to 26, 000 Ethiopian and Ethiopian born citizens during the reporting period which had greatly helped in forging a consensus on the importance of the involvement of the Diaspora in Ethiopia’s Renaissance. The Ministry had also held a consultative meeting with more than 500 Diaspora community members who came to Ethiopia for the Easter celebrations. This had covered topical national issues and had gone a long way in explaining the objectives of the Growth and Transformation Plan. After hearing the Ministry’s report, the Foreign, Defense and Security Standing Committee commended the Ministry on its 10 months performance. It particularly singled out its range of activities in civil service reform, and in economic, business and public diplomacy. It also urged the Ministry to continue to build on its successes and improve the areas in which it had achieved a less than impressive performance." Image from article, with caption: Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs HQ

The thief” stealing” cheap nfl jerseys Chinese just because of money? - "The original introduced through the friend, has the Chinese Embassy in Italy military contact, ask again, he has moved in his country. I went to my peers and Sina, Tencent and foreign media, such as phoenix net media friends for help. Sina reading Mr. Yang Zhuo suggested that I immediately send micro-blog relief, then send a help information, soon to micro friends of concern, and the Chinese Embassy in Italy for information and public diplomacy at the Yao Xianli micro friends help."

My response to "The Limits of Country Branding" - M. J. Pham, A Hard Look at Soft Power: Global Public Diplomacy: "Just as branding is indispensable to shaping and communicating brand value, so too is public diplomacy to 'helping audiences identify with' nation-states and “encouraging them to buy its products and services” (van Ham, 2002).

And just as Lee emphasizes how 'the soft power of a country operates in constant interaction with its hard power,' so too does public diplomacy operate in tandem with nation-branding." Image from entry

Middle Powers, the Distribution of Power and the Rise of Niche Expertise - hedmanmarc, Multiple Perspectives on Public Diplomacy: An American University SIS 628 Blog - "Public diplomacy is crucial for the soft power of moral authority or a brand that highlights a state as an expert in a given field. Of course, the expertise needs to be real and the narrative needs to reflect historical truths. However, specialization of state skills may be the power distribution of the future."

Goli Ameri, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs to speak at Conference - Meet keynote speaker Goli Ameri! 56th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL, July 12-14 'A New Era for Citizen Diplomacy' Goli Ameri, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs ... Ms. Ameri spearheaded America’s public diplomacy efforts.

She worked tirelessly to increase international educational exchanges and further cross-cultural understanding. Hear her thoughts on 'The New Era for Citizen Diplomacy' and about her new initiative, Strengthening America’s Global Engagement (SAGE). Meet her in person July 13th!" Ameri image from entry

Former trustee returns to Colonial Williamsburg - "The newest trustee at Colonial Williamsburg is Judith McHale, who served 2006-09 as well. She stepped down at the time to join the State Department as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. She is now managing partner at Cane Investments, an investment company specializing in early stage capital and strategic advice to start-ups.

She’s also the managing partner of the Global Environment Fund’s Africa Growth Fund. Earlier she was president of Discovery Communications and served as general council to MTV Networks. McHale also currently serves on the board of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Infrastructure News." McHale image from article


A Cruel and Unusual Record - Jimmy Carter, New York Times: In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate. Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children

is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times. As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years. Carter image from

A Weapon We Can’t Control - Misha Glenny, New York Times: Until now, America has been reluctant to discuss regulation of the Internet with Russia and China. Washington believes any moves toward a treaty might undermine its presumed superiority in the field of cyberweaponry and robotics. And it fears that Moscow and Beijing would exploit a global regulation of military activity on the Web, in order to justify and further strengthen the powerful tools they already use to restrict their citizens’ freedom on the Net. The United States must now consider entering into discussions, anathema though they may be, with the world’s major powers about the rules governing the Internet as a military domain.

Congress keeps closer watch on CIA drone strikes - Ken Dilanian, Intelligence committee staffers review videos and report back, but critics still fear too many civilians may be dying in Pakistan and Yemen - Congressional criticism of drone strikes has been rare. But this month, 26 lawmakers, all but two of them Democrats, signed a letter to Obama questioning so-called signature strikes, in which the U.S. attacks armed men who fit a pattern of behavior that suggests they are involved in terrorist activities. Signature strikes have been curbed in Pakistan, where they once were common, but this year Obama gave the CIA permission to conduct them in Yemen, where an Al Qaeda affiliate that has targeted the United States has established a safe haven in the south. The lawmakers expressed concern that signature strikes could kill civilians. They added: "Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight."

The Mendacious Movement to Free a Convicted Spy: Pretending that Jonathan Pollard is a martyr makes a mockery of Israel - Martin Peretz, Wall Street Journal: here is no end in sight for the campaign to persuade President Obama to let convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard go free. Mr. Obama does exhibit a certain disdain for the Jewish state—an indifference to and ignorance of the incandescence of Jewish history. "When the chips are down," said the president to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last March, "I have Israel's back."

The whole lesson of Zionism, a good and truthful lesson, is that no one but Jews can be relied on to have Israel's back. No American troops desired, no American troops required. No Americans should die for Israel. Too many have died for Afghanistan already, a country which we will in any case leave in the deadly lurch. But the Israeli peace camp not only wants the president to force Israel out of the territories and to shrink the Jewish stake in Jerusalem. It also wants Mr. Obama to cleanse Zion of the shame of spying on its patron and its single solitary true friend in the world. Well, he may just do that—not now, not yet, but after the elections if he wins them. Image from article, with caption: Protesters call for the release from prison of Jonathan Pollard, who pleaded guilty in 1986 to spying on the United States for Israel. He is serving a life sentence.

Not-So-Crazy in Tehran - Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times: Americans think of Iran as a police state, but that overstates its control: Iranians are irrepressible. Iran looks childish when it calls America the “Great Satan” or blusters “Death to America.” Let’s not bluster back or operate on caricatures. And let’s not choose bombs over sanctions and undercut the many Iranians who are chipping away at hard-line rule in tiny ways — even by flashing their hair.

Warnings From 'Hitlerland' About Iran The West has fewer journalists based in Tehran now than were in Berlin in the 1930s - L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal: In an era of transparency, countries that close themselves off from the flow of information should lose the benefit of the doubt about their intentions. Even without diplomats or journalists on the ground, it's clear the likeliest reason for a country to seek such isolation is that it has plenty to hide. We know more than enough about Iran to make it imperative to do what it takes to make sure it doesn't get the bomb.

In North Korea, learning to hate U.S. starts with children - AP, - For North Koreans, the systematic indoctrination of anti-Americanism starts as early as kindergarten and is as much a part of the curriculum as learning to count.

Syria’s Propaganda Cloud: How the West Is Falling for Misinformation - Riad al Khouri, What is clear is that the violent instability facing the country (whatever its origins or aims) is exacerbating a shaky economy that was weak even before the crisis blew up last year. Today, money is coming into the country from many sources, including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, among other nations who are supporting one or more of the various players. Yet such political inflows of funds have a tendency to eventually do more harm than good. Some of those inflows, for instance, are funding propaganda, which serves to exaggerate Syria’s genuine problems—economic and otherwise—as part of a great spectacle to sway world opinion. This includes Saudi money coming into Syria via Lebanon to fund demonstrations, with people getting $30 a day to protest—in front of cameras and microphones, of course. That isn’t to say that there aren’t many genuine demonstrators with real grievances; at the same time, the government habitually stages its own propaganda shows, also inducing people to whoop it up for the media. Such stage-management, along with fake torture videos and a host of other propaganda stunts, provide false justification for or against outside meddling, with some Europeans and certain people in Washington pushing for various military options, and a broad group led by Russia and China, but also including many in the region, calling for diplomatic solutions to the crisis.

Editorial: Ministry of Culture as propaganda office - The failure of new Minister of Culture in his conflict with 'channel NTV' has shown the weakness of one of the most notorious initiatives of Vladimir Putin's new presidency. The attempt to turn the Culture ministry into the new state propaganda machine is meeting resistance in unexpected places. What quarrels could there be between the NTV, run by Vladimir Kulistikov, and the Ministry of Culture, headed by Vladimir Medinsky? Both managers are propaganda professionals, both are official agitators who row in the same boat. Why should they rock it? Yet there was a nasty scandal. The Culture Minister demanded the TV channel not air the new feature film "Serve the Soviet Union" on June 22, a day of mourning on the anniversary of Germany's treacherous attack on the Soviet Union in 1941.

He demanded this in his habitual manner, very publicly and loudly, and was refused, most likely exactly because of the manner. And it's not a matter of the movie itself, with its improbable plot, dubious esthetic qualities, and near unpatriotic-ness, if you the patriotism isn't reduced to worship of Soviet secret police. It's just that one propaganda dignitary decided not to bow to another and admit his superiority. This was not the only controversial declaration by Vladimir Medinsky during his first month in the office. Another declaration was the call to rename the Moscow streets in memory of the great prince Sergey Alexandrovich and other victims of revolutionary terror. Image from article, with caption: Vladimir Medinsky: "Fact is not important"