Friday, December 13, 2013

December 11-13

abbreviated edition


--The name of Secretary of State John Kerry's new dog, so designated in honor of Ben Franklin, who’s known as the “Father of the American Foreign Service” (and for whom the State Department’s diplomatic state dining room is named); cited in Domani Spero, "Secretary Kerry Gets a New Dog, Now a State Dept. Dog is Tweeting, Who Needs the NSA?" DiploPundit; image from entry. For an article on Benjamin Franklin as one of the originator of American public diplomacy, please see.


North Korea Documentary - How Americans Live Today, Survive By Eating Birds And Snow: A new release on North Korea Documentary TV today, showing how Americans live and how many of them have to eat snow and birds to survive -; Via VD on Facebook

How money in domestic politics affects U.S. diplomacy - "On this week’s episode of 'Conversations with Nicholas Kralev,' Harvard professor Joseph Nye, who coined the term 'soft power,' talks about presidential leadership in the conduct of diplomacy, and how the United States can maintain its primacy in world affairs. See also John Brown, "The Creation of the American Era" [review of Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013], American Diplomacy; if you read this article, you might wish to see.


Revamped Board Meeting to Feature Netflix CEO, VOA Deep Dive - "The Broadcasting Board of Governors will meet at its Washington, D.C. headquarters on December 18, with a new format that will feature an in-depth look at one of its networks and a panel discussion on media in the digital age with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. ... The public may attend either or both of these sessions in person as seating capacity allows. Registration to attend is available here, and must be completed by 12:00 p.m. (EST) on December 17.  The meeting will also be streamed live on the BBG website at" Via LT by e-mail


Spooks of Warcraft: how the NSA infiltrated gamespace - Cory Doctorow, "A new Snowden leak details how the NSA and GCHQ tasked agents to infiltrate Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other MMOs to find jihadis and spy on them. The battalions of undercover orcs did indeed take much of gamespace, but there's no evidence they ever spotted a plot. I was once questioned by members of an 'unnamed branch of the State Department' at a games and public diplomacy event about the likelihood that jihadis were playing MMOs; and I said something like, 'Sure, of course. Everyone plays MMOs.' I didn't realize they'd take it all quite so much to heart.

The absurdity of sending spies to infiltrate Warcraft can best be understood as a natural outflow of the doctrine that holds that if any two bad guys, anywhere in the world, can communicate in such a way that the NSA can't listen in on them, all of society will crumble. Once you set yourself the insane task of eavesdropping on all conversations, everywhere, always, it's inevitable that you'll send Secret Squirrel and his pals to Azeroth." Image from entry

Guest Post: Snowden and Snooping Remarks at the MIT Center for International Studies - Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS Ret.), "One does not have to approve of Mr. Snowden’s conduct to recognize the service he has done us by exposing the cancerous growth of our government’s surveillance apparatus. ... [E]avesdropping on allies is no more compatible with mutually respectful and cooperative relationships than behaving like a peeping Tom is with friendship. By alienating our foreign admirers and supporters, we have weakened our country’s political influence abroad. By hacking into our great information technology companies to create Trojan horses, our government has spread distrust of U.S. products and services and damaged the competitiveness of our economy. By belying the decent respect for the opinions of mankind with which we inaugurated our nation, Washington has catalyzed a global loss of confidence in the righteousness of American leadership. By showing suspicious contempt for allies and ready hostility toward other nations, Americans have undermined the prospects for both future international cooperation by allies with our armed forces and peaceful coexistence with our competitors." Via BK on Facebook. John Brown, "Empire of Ideas," American Diplomacy: "[T]o identify the origins of U.S. public diplomacy we must go back further in the past, to the very beginning of America’s history: to the Declaration of Independence, written to show respect ... to ... 'the opinions of mankind.'

Reveal what U.S. torture cost us - William H. Taft IV, Washington Post: "In an effort to keep Americans safe following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government resorted to detention and interrogation policies that violated U.S. values and laws and compromised our moral leadership. Adopting torture and cruel treatment as U.S. policy had immeasurable consequences for the United States’ national security and global standing. ... That it remains debatable whether torture and cruel treatment yielded anything useful is an indication of the heavy cost the United States paid in exchange for so little. The public release of the report would be a significant step in establishing the full truth of U.S. practices of torture and cruelty. Openly examining the consequences of those actions and assessing how serious errors in judgment became U.S. policy would better position us to avoid this ignoble path in the future."

USA intend to develop closer cooperation with Kazakhstan - "The United States intend to develop closer cooperation with Kazakhstan in the public diplomacy and education, Eileen O'Connor, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and Senior Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy in the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said in her exclusive interview to TengrinewsTV. The expert on international diplomacy said that she came to discuss youth policies and ways of making young people more involved in the public life of the society with the Kazakhstan authorities."

'Good Use' of Funds? State Dept. defends $1M London embassy ... - Bayoubuzz -" The State Department defended its decision to commission a 1$ million sculpture for the American Embassy in London just days before the partial government shutdown in October." See also

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: ... Robert A. Wood, Nominee for Rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Department of State ... In Washington, Mr. Wood has worked as a public affairs advisor for the Bureau of African Affairs, as a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and in several positions dealing with the Balkans."

Obama's funeral selfie is a fitting end to my Tumblr – Selfies at Funerals: The Mandela memorial selfie elicited much righteous indignation. But, like the teens on my site, these leaders are merely using a new visual language to express mixed emotions - Jason Feifer, "Many people interpreted funeral selfies as further evidence of millenials' self-centeredness.

I didn't. Had my parents' or grandparents' generation grown up with the kind of social media tools that today's teens have, they'd have done equally embarrassing things for all the world to see."  Via PR. Image from entry, with caption: David Cameron, Helle Thorning Schmidt and Barack Obama pose for a selfie during Nelson Mandela's memorial service yesterdaySee also John Brown, "OMG -- Is that Public Diplomacy?"  Notes and Essays

Foreign politicians turn to China's social media in diplomacy - Xinhua, "Li Yonghui, dean of the School of International Relations and Diplomacy of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that public diplomacy is a new trend in diplomacy, and impressive communication is possible when public diplomacy and new media are combined. 'As a political show in form, the combination helps to build national image, deliver national policy and showcase politicians' friendly images,' Li said. 'They could also use it as an opportunity to explain the rationality of their diplomatic policies to the people.' ... 'In contrast to being interviewed by official media, foreign leaders now exchange information with common people in a relaxing way with netizens on microblogs,' said Huang Yu, dean and professor of the School of Communication of Hong Kong Baptist University."

For Sochi Olympics, NBC Hires Soviet Union Apologist Who Called Its 1979 Invasion 'Honoring Our Commitment' - Tom Blumer, "Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union . ... Comparing his former role to that of Karen Hughes, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, he [Posner] commented that, 'You know, as someone who’s gone through

this and someone who regrets having done what he’s done, and who spent many, many years of his life, and I think probably the best years of my life, doing something that was wrong, I say it just isn’t worth it'. ... [I]t would appear that Posner will have free rein to provide propaganda spin on behalf of Vladimir Putin without challenge." Image from entry

Southern Defense Think Tank set up in Guangzhou - "The Nanfang Media Group, a pioneer in establishing defense-themed print media in the new era in China, held the first Southern Defense Forum on December 5, 2013 in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong province. During the forum, the Southern Defense Think Tank was set up. The Southern Defense Think Tank aims to build a military database, a photo database and a video database, by leverage of which it can release valuable military news and reference for defense affairs, and make itself the top media research body in defense and military strategy studies that connects the media circle with the military and academic research groups. The forum invited several experts and scholars in national defense, international relations and public diplomacy to conduct discussions and communications."

Soft Power and the UK's Influence Committee - Former Heads of the UK Diplomatic Service, Former UK Permanent Representative to the UN - Soft Power and the UK's Influence [subscription]: Mention, acccording to Google Search, of public diplomacy.

Walt Whitman’s Pakistan - Mosharraf Zaidi, "Indian Americans adorn the American mindspace in breathtaking depth, from disgraced Rajat Gupta to PepsiCo’s graceful Indra Nooyi. From the unfunny Fareed Zakaria to the hilarious Aziz Ansari. From Sufi Deepak Chopra to the vigorously scientific Sanjay Gupta. But beyond the public diplomacy of India’s people is the reality of the Indian economy and policy. At the heart of India’s growing relevance to America is its status as a democracy, as an investment dreamland, as a trading powerhouse, and as a manpower exporting machine. ... Pakistani military and political leaders want us to have our anti-American cake, and eat our American cake too. Such contradictions, even Walt Whitman would have avoided. We are certainly not large enough to contain such multitudes."

Turkey’s Humanitarian Assistance: The Fourth Largest Donor State - Senem Cevik, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Turkey has been seeking to expand its sphere of influence during the last decade and realizing that public diplomacy can play a part in improving Turkey’s soft power. Together with the nation’s economic success, Turkey has focused on becoming a major player in humanitarian assistance. Turkey’s humanitarian assistance efforts can be considered long-term relationship building public diplomacy tools aiming to develop Turkey’s soft power in those societies."

Turkey extends hand, but no apology, to Armenia - Fehim Taştekin, "Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, speaking Nov. 5 at the parliament’s Budget and Planning Commission over the budget of the Turkish History Institution, explained how Turkey would counter the Armenians’ international campaigns for 2015. '2015 is the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli battle on the one hand, and the so-called Armenian genocide allegations on the other.

We are working seriously on that. Work is underway on symposiums, conferences, panels, book publications and documentaries,' said Arinc. 'But at the same time, we are working also on some very special initiatives in other realms that could have an impact on all countries around the world in terms of public diplomacy.' The institution, he added, would organize 14 'scientific meetings' in 2014 and allocate 8,239,000 Turkish lira ($4,045,000) for its activities." Image from article, with caption: A mosque and the city waterfront are reflected in a new building in the Azeri capital Baku, Sept. 8, 2012. Rising tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan could unleash a new war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region that spreads beyond the countries' borders and has global significance.

TNA will bring grief, not joy to Tamils -- Prof. Rohan Gunaratna - Nadira Gunatilleke, The Daily News, posted at "Professor Rohan Gunaratna is Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore and he is the author of Inside Al-Qaeda (Columbia University, New York, 2002). Prof. Gunaratna is the lead author of Pakistan: Ground Zero Terrorism (Reaktion, London, 2011). ... [Gunaratna:] The Sri Lankan government has won the war in the battlefield but lost the media war overseas. The Ministry of External Affairs should create a post of an Additional Secretary for Public Diplomacy and build three divisions; strategic communications, diaspora affairs and NGO engagement. It will be a mistake to staff these posts exclusively with foreign service officers. Media, security and human rights specialists should be posted to Sri Lankan missions overseas and receive support from a 24/7 Watch Centre in Colombo linked to defence, media and other ministries."

Turkey ruthlessly humiliates naive Cypriot kalopaida ... [Google "translation'] - Savvas Iakovidi, "In the age of technology and the unprecedented growth of knowledge, the size of the Member is not a function of armies only, but dependence and per capita spiritual and intellectual culture, able to put front and visible to other image and objectives of a people. We live in the age and public diplomacy (public diplomacy) and soft power (soft power). What is this?'s The view of the image of a state, culture and achievements of intellectual and scientific accomplishments, his artistic and literary intellectuals and the modern structure of institutions and creations of people. All these build citizens pride of belonging to a state that is decent, reliable and respected third parties and especially enemies. Turkey invaded and occupies part of Cyprus and European territory. It does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus."

Languages - Getting to the Hearts, John Worne, PD News– CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Nobody does more worldwide than the British Council to share the English language. But we need to  ... recognize that English alone is not enough, if we want to speak to the hearts of people beyond our shores."

Second Seminar on Public Diplomacy Research group [Google "translation"] - Seoul - "Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the coming 12.17 (Tuesday) The second group of academic seminars to public diplomacy, to 16 academic group members are honorary public diplomacy envoy Korea (Honorary Envoy for Public Diplomacy) to share activities and experiences necessary for the future development of South Korea Public Diplomacy will discuss what things are. launched last 1.29 'Public Diplomacy Research Group, a public diplomacy envoy Honor (Honorary Envoy for Public Diplomacy) appointed phosphorus in 16 incumbent local university consists of foreign scholars. ※ The 2nd Workshop on Public Diplomacy Research Group Overview Date and Location: Tues 17/12/2013 10:00 to 14:00, Lotte Hotel Peacock Room / Charlotte Room Participants: Ambassador mayoungsam public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy hanchunghui Foreign Ministry officials, including Director / Public Diplomacy Research Group members / experts such as Kimchi and Kimchi Culture In addition, in early December 'Kimchi Culture (Kimjang: Making and Sharing Kimchi in the Republic of Korea ) 'UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the wake listed, group members are academic culture and kimchi kimchi for our in-depth understanding and actively promote future-related lectures and experience to help expand the program to continue to provide plans Korean culture expert Jia Choi (Ewha Womans University Adjunct Professor) is represented by Kimchi Kimchi Korean culture and the essence will help you understand and craftsmanship since yihayeon kimchi (kimchi Association vice president) under the introduction to the real Kimchi watching the ball is going to feel the emotion of Korea. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UNESCO listed in our culture, this Kimchi Kimchi Kimchi and promoting cultural opportunities worldwide a broad party 'delicious tale Korea, kimchi (Delicious Korean Story, Kimchi)' the book by making plans to distribute to all diplomatic missions. kimchi time making a book of history, science (nutrition, fermentation, processing, storage, side effect), as well as philosophy, simple kimchi recipe, interesting stories related to kimchi (kimchi associated with dream interpretation, proverbs, diet success stories, including kimchi), Kimchi Korean culture found in the culture of harmony 'is all about kimchi' is by no means exhaustive information.leverage Korean embassy in Bonn, were produced with this in English. Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the academic group members and to spread a positive image of Korea is constantly required activities that takes effect next year, will continue. In addition, members of the academic group activities to help honor refuse the charm of South Korea to better understand the various workshops, lectures, experiential opportunities are also plans to continue to provide."

Diverse nominees for Multicultural Awards - Park Jin-hai, "A panel of seven judges, representing civic activists, foreign communities, scholars and diplomats, convened Wednesday to select winners for the 2nd Korea Multicultural Youth Awards. ... 'This year’s event also convinced me that the children from multiracial families are doing very well. In spite of wide-spread worries about them, they excelled not only in academic achievements, but also in extracurricular activities,' said Kim Joon-sik, chairman of Asian Friends and a judge for the second year. Kim added that he was happy to see more volunteer groups this year. 'I think the Filipino student advocacy group Pinoy Iskolars in Korea (PIKO) showed a great example of public diplomacy,' he said."

Park In-bee admitted to Sookmyung - "World No. 1 golfer Park In-bee

was admitted to Sookmyung Women’s University, the school said Thursday. Park was accepted into the university’s Graduate School of International Service as a sports and public diplomacy major. ... If Park will be unable to attend classes due to her participation in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour, she will attend lectures at affiliated universities on location or register for online courses. Park, LPGA Player of the Year, said she is 'honored to be able to further study and contribute to sports and public diplomacy.'” In-bee image from entry

Actress Tisha appointed Korean envoy for public diplomacy - Popular actress Nusrat Imrose Tisha has been officially appointed South Korean Embassy’s Ambassador for Public Diplomacy to promote cultural ties

between Bangladesh and Korea. ... The appointment came at a time when Korea is celebrating its 40 years of diplomatic ties with Bangladesh. ... Tisha’s appointment took effect on September 10 for two years." Uncaptioned image from entry

China: ALBA-TCP Summit on Solidarity, Justice, Cooperation - "Representatives of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the

Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and Chinese specialists participated today in a forum of the two organizations that debated issues such as solidarity, complementarity, justice and cooperation. The meeting, held at the Public Diplomacy and Culture Exchange Center in Beijing, was attended by Chinese former ambassadors to Latin American and Caribbean countries and Foreign Ministry officials and of other organizations linked to this region. The forum coincides with the ninth anniversary of the establishment of ALBA-TCP as an initiative of Venezuelan late President Hugo Chávez Frías, who was paid tribute by the participants." Image from entry

Interactions in Shanghai, the point of Vista's Consul General Charles Jose [Google "translation"] - Consul General Jose yield absolute values ​​of the Shanghai Consulate of Philippines in the deepening of interaction and intensification of friendship between the Chinese and Filipinos. And a good way of promoting its sister cities through mechanism for public diplomacy."

Nigeria: Terrorists Abduct Motorists, Set Cars Ablaze in Borno - "[S]ome suspected Boko Haram insurgents ambushed motorists along Gwoza-Firgi-Ngurosoya Federal Highway in Borno State, and killed five passengers, including a man on his way to Maiduguri to attend his brother's wedding. The sect members struck on a day the National Security Adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), declared that the government had initiated a new approach and a change of tactics in fighting Boko Haram terrorism, having realised that military operations alone cannot stop terrorism. ... [T]he Presidency may have initiated a new approach and a change of tactics in fighting terrorism, saying it had realised that military operations alone cannot stop the menace of terrorism. Dasuki, who made the disclosure at the Strategic Communications workshop held at the National Defence College, yesterday, said 'a robust public diplomacy' which would involve every facet of the society, including aggressive mass media participation, is to be put in place to tackle the menace."

Expert: Eurasian integration beyond Customs Union is difficult without a universal information field - "The international conference on information challenges of Eurasian integration is scheduled to take place in Minsk on 12-13 December. It has been organized by the Eurasian Communication Center with assistance of the Public Diplomacy Support Foundation named after A.M. Gorchakov and the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper."

Ryan School spreads a message of unity - "The Ryan International Group of Schools hosted the 13th International Children's Festival of Performing Arts (ICFPA), under the chairmanship of AF Pinto and Grace Pinto, MD, at Talkatora Stadium, Kamani Auditorium, Little Theatre Group and National Bal Bhavan, in Delhi. The four day cultural extravaganza, with the theme 'A Brighter Tomorrow', brought together over 15,000 students from 21 countries. ... Manu Arya, advisor culture and public diplomacy - Norway ... graced the occasion."

Review – New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century [review of New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century: A Comparative Study of Policy and Practice By: James Pamment]: Sue Curry Jansen, "Public diplomacy (PD), traditionally defined as state-sponsored communications that strategically target citizens of other nations, has a long and controversial history. . ... Pamment’s work ... distinguishes between traditional, gatekeeper and mass-mediated models of PD as well as newer approaches which take into account twenty-first century market-based

globalization as well as new digital and satellite media environments. Contending that the ‘new public diplomacy’ (NPD) represents a paradigm shift in political communication theory, Pamment compares NPD theory to actual PD practices using case studies from three countries: the United Kingdom (U.K.), Sweden and the U.S." Image from entry


Should the U.S. Bar Chinese Journalists? - Should the U.S. Bar Chinese Journalists? - The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a roundtable discussion on Wednesday on the feared expulsion of some two dozen journalists from Bloomberg News and The New York Times. The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Bob Dietz—one of the session’s participants—explains his opposition to retaliatory visa restrictions on Chinese reporters in the U.S., a long-mooted proposal that is enjoying a resurgence amid the current uncertainty. ... Mooney [Paul Mooney, who hasn’t been allowed back into China to take a new job for Reuters], who was scheduled to attend yesterday’s discussion, posted the statement he had submitted in his absence, in which he made his case for visa retaliation. He stressed first “that my reporting, and that of my colleagues, is not anti-China,” and that Chinese authorities have never challenged him on grounds of accuracy. He then gave a detailed account of the obstruction and harassment he and others have encountered. Via GR on Facebook

Mood-Music Diplomacy on Iran: More sanctions would strengthen U.S. leverage with Tehran - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kerry now likes to quote Reagan's "trust but verify" mantra for dealing with Iran. But the Gipper's real legacy was to show resolve when it counted. The Obama Administration's opposition to new sanctions with a delayed trigger feeds suspicions that it is eager to accept just about any agreement with Iran. Members of Congress from both parties who want a good and credible deal can help by passing this sanctions bill.

Strike Iran Now to Avert Disaster Later: A conventional-weapons attack is preferable to the nuclear war sure to come - Norman Podhoretz, Wall Street Journal: Two choices before us are not war vs. containment but a conventional war now or a nuclear war later. Given how very unlikely it is that President Obama, despite his all-options-on-the-table protestations to the contrary, would ever take military action, the only hope rests with Israel. If, then, Israel fails to strike now, Iran will get the bomb. And when it does, the Israelis will be forced to decide whether to wait for a nuclear attack and then to retaliate out of the rubble, or to pre-empt with a nuclear strike of their own. But the Iranians will be faced with the same dilemma. Under these unprecedentedly hair-trigger circumstances, it will take no time before one of them tries to beat the other to the punch.

In Afghanistan, Women Betrayed - Heather Barr, New York Times: Countries, including the United States, have pledged continued funding for services for Afghan women, but in addition to aid they need political support. International support for the Afghan government and its security must depend on continued progress for Afghan women. Anything less would be a betrayal.

Can the Free Syrian Army do better? - David Ignatius, Washington Post: A year ago, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) created what it called a “Supreme Military Council” under Gen. Salim Idriss to coordinate operations by moderate rebel groups The chaos in northern Syria has demonstrated the weakness of Idriss’s operation, and also the failure of the United States to organize a coherent command-and-control structure to support him.

Is it time for the U.S. to shake Cuba's hand too? Long a political land mine, normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba may be developing momentum - Tom Hayden, The handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service would have made the South African leader smile.

It was the latest sign of a gradual thawing in relations between
Washington and Havana after a frozen half-century. Image from entry, with caption:  President Obama, left, shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

A new Cold War tug-of-war on Ukraine: U.S. and European officials are right to pursue a policy that supports its sovereignty, democratization and self-determination but doesn't ask it to take sides - Editorial, Even after independence, many Ukrainians, particularly those in the eastern part of the country, identify with Russia. That doesn't justify Russian interference in Ukraine's internal affairs or attempts to muscle it into joining a Russian-dominated trading bloc instead of associating with the EU.

But it does call for the sort of sophisticated response U.S. and European officials have shown in recent days, one that supports Ukraine's sovereignty, democratization and self-determination but doesn't ask that country to take sides in a new Cold War. Image from entry, with caption: A pro-European Union activist wearing a mask depicting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sits with others as they warm themselves near a bonfire in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ukraine's drama, Obama's weakness: It's the job of U.S. leaders to see beyond today's domestic issues to protect larger national interests well into the future - John Bolton, It is hard to imagine that Obama gives even a passing thought to Ukraine's drama, or many Republicans either, for that matter. But there should be no mistaking that tectonic plates are being realigned in Europe, for better or worse.
America's passivity and indifference will not make for a better outcome. Image from entry, with caption: Protesters defend their barricades in front of riot policemen on Independence Square in Kiev.

The Central African Republic needs our help - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Over the past decade, the United States has gradually developed a regional response, designed to be proactive while avoiding large-scale, direct intervention: promoting economic development, instructing African governments in coun­ter­terrorism, conducting joint-training operations and sometimes deploying military planning cells, commandos or drones. Central to these efforts is U.S. financial and logistical support for proxies and peacekeepers — now needed in CAR."


  • The missing element in this lovely pix: Laura and "W" taking "selfie" pictures of themselves while each looking at his/her own portrait ... That would bring them up to date with modern times.


--From, with caption: Tanja Ostojić – “After Courbet, L´origin [sic] du Monde” (2004), poster, artist’s collection; Courtesy of the artist; via VS on Facebook


“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place.”

--John F. Kennedy

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