Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 14-17

abbreviated edition
"She's fun."

--Save the Children vice president Mark Shriver, the former Maryland politician, regarding his cousin, Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan; image from

"You won't be denied a visa if you tell the truth."

--Lydia Hall, a second tour public diplomacy-coned officer, speaking to Indian students
and their parents


Image from, with caption: Ambassador Wally Brewster [left front in image] during his presentation of credentials to President Danilo Medina at Palacio Nacional Dominicano on December 9, 2013. [Your PDPBR compiler note]: 4:30 pm, December 17 [:] I called the State Department Desk Officer for Santo Domingo to inquire if white attire was de rigueur for the presentation of ambassadorial credentials. The Desk Officer was out of the office, and no one in the office could answer my question.


Dewy-eyed Politico Puff Piece on Caroline: 'Ambassador Kennedy, A Star Is Born' - Tim Graham, newsbusters.org: "Alex Burns at Politico was handed the Kennedy Goo bucket for their latest feature, headlined 'Ambassador Kennedy: A Star Is Born.'

The liberal media establishment are very eager to say Caroline Kennedy is packed with charm in her role in Japan as 'political royalty,' and if she was a terrible candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, well, diplomacy is more her bag. ... Burns even quoted kissing Kennedy cousins to keep the syrup flowing: Save the Children vice president Mark Shriver, the former Maryland politician, said his cousin was 'having a wonderful time' in Japan so far, and relishing the public diplomacy of the job. 'She moves around, she goes out, she’s not a recluse,' Shriver said." Uncaptioned mage from entry

The East Asia-Pacific Rebalance: Expanding U.S. Engagement - Fact Sheet, state.gov: "U.S. Objectives [inter alia:] .... Expand people-to-people ties."

Q AND A with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Zarif: "I’ll leave the private discussions to remain private. I do not want to engage in that type of public diplomacy. But what I can say is that we are engaged in discussions in order to make sure that everybody is committed to Geneva.

What I have heard from Secretary Kerry and Lady Ashton is that they are committed to an early finalization of the Geneva process with a view to reaching a comprehensive agreement." Zarif image from entry, with caption: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during second joint high committee meeting between Kuwait and Iran at the foreign ministry in Kuwait city on December 1, 2013.

The Gambia: A Serious Matter - Sheriff Bojang, jollofnews.com: "It was a special day for Deyda Hydara, co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper. It was his wife’s birthday and the 13th anniversary of the founding of his mildly critical newspaper. ... It was going to be a good Friday for him... and the new United States ambassador was coming for a visit. He took a bath, ran the comb through his thin greying hair, put on his finest lanolin three-buttoned grey coat, white starched shirt and blue silken tie with starry dots knotted Wellington style. Deyda entered his blue 1987 Mercedes Benz 190 and drove from his Kanifing South residence to The Point newspaper offices on Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau. About 11am, Ambassador Joseph D Stafford, arrived accompanied by his public diplomacy officer, the writer, Nana Grey-Johnson. He was shown around and had some chat with the staff of the newspaper which began life in a two-room side office in Banjul. There was optimism in the air, a good dose of cheer and bonhomie. ‘We are celebrating our 13th anniversary today and although they say 13 is an unlucky number, we are serene and determined to continue our work and struggle for freedom of the press...’ Deyda told the ambassador and the members of his staff gathered, stammering heavily in his accented English, his brown, beefy face breaking into his trademark benign smile. ... Ambassador Stafford left and Deyda set to work on the Friday edition of his paper. Well-wishers called to felicitate him and his staff on a happy anniversary. Later in the evening, the food and the drinks arrived and the party began. It was to be someone’s last supper. Everyone was there except reporter Justice Darboe who was either piffed at the absence of his favourite beer or was drafting a speech he wanted to read out in his self-glorified capacity as the head of the newsroom. By the time he showed up, the food, the drinks and all the revellers had gone home. Seeing his sorry state, Deyda gave him a fifty dalasi note and dismissed him. He then checked on the proofs of the pages of the Friday edition before asking some of his staff whether they would need the usual lift home. His secretary, Nyang Jobe, got in the front seat beside him, while another secretary Ida Jagne and janitor Buba Janneh took the back seats. They sped along Kairaba Avenue, took the detour at the Westfield main junction, branched off right and took the annex road that runs past the Old Cooperative compound, KMC headquarters and Gamcel building before halting at the PIU barracks end. Janneh came out of the car and Deyda turned right at the nondescript junction crowded by eleven sign posts and drove down the unlit street that turns out to be a cul-de-sac with a mosque at the end. But, before reaching the mosque, just about 200 metres from the Mamadi Maniyang Highway, past the Police Vehicle Workshop, Deyda slowed down his car to give way to an accelerating vehicle revving behind him. As the vehicle passed him, shots rang out, pumping into his car. He swerved, lost control and his car ran into high dry shrubs, crashing into the metre deep drainage ditch before screeching to a halt ten metres away, the blue paint of the car pockmarking the inner concrete walls of the ditch. As Thackeray wrote in Vanity Fair many years ago: 'Darkness came down on the field and city: and Amelia was praying for George, who was lying on his face, dead with a bullet through his heart.' The crescent moon bathed the night in silvery hue as the light balmy breeze sucked the forbidden fumes of the nearby brewery. Vehicles came and men took the body away. In the morning, the news broke: Deyda Hydara has been shot to death. A bullet in the head, a bullet in the chest, a bullet in the stomach. He was lying in the frozen chambers of the RVTH mortuary." The two ladies in the car were in the hospital, receiving treatment for gunshot wounds to their legs. "

Image from entry

Going Global: In the third phase of dna's Global Education Seminar [in India] students and parents got first hand information on overseas education from the experts. Prachi Rege reports - "Officers from the US Consulate told the students about the do's and don'ts of a visa interview. 'Do not attend the interview with a rehearsed speech, it sounds fake,' said Lydia Hall, a second tour public diplomacy-coned officer. 'If you have a cousin living in the US then don't deny it." "

What Diplomats Can Learn from Marines - Michael Rubin, Commentary: "Donald Bishop, a retired Foreign Service officer and public diplomacy specialist, who served as the policy advisor to General James Conway (U.S. Marine Corps) between 2006 and 2008. Writing recently for the Public Diplomacy Council, Bishop recalled his service in an article entitled, 'Learning from the Marines: Schoolhouses, Debate, Public Affairs, and Recognition,' and provides a useful comparison between the culture of the Foreign Service and that of the U.S. Marine Corps and finds that diplomats might learn a great deal from Marines.

He observes, 'Anyone who thinks the Marines are all brawn and no brain should visit The Basic School with its emphasis on decision making; the Center for Advanced Operational Cultural Learning, which trains Marines to understand how they will encounter people from different cultures; and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College for its emphasis on planning and integration of all the elements of national power.' While the Foreign Service provides supplementary training and has embraced specialized language institutes, it has no corollary to the Marines when it comes to expanding the academic self.  He continues, 'The Marine Corps cultivates professional debate and even dissent, using the Marine Corps Gazette as a vehicle for the expression of opinion and new ideas. It so values contention over ideas, responsibly stated, that contributors to that journal are honored even when junior opinions make senior eyes roll, or when opinions are strongly contrary.” Much depends on any particular unit’s command environment, but I have heard far more rigorous debate openly among military personnel, with and in the presence of their superiors, than I have in embassies. And woe to any diplomat who uses the established dissent channel, for that would be a career killer. Bishop makes other apt comparisons as well, and his whole short article is worth reading. That the cultural divide between military and non-military spheres has widened ever since the end of the draft is undeniable. Few diplomats and even fewer in academe have much understanding of who the military is and how they operate. That such a divide remains might be inevitable. That bureaucratic cultures in practice do not learn from each other’s best practices, however, is unfortunate." Image from

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - whitehouse.gov: "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. Mr. Wood has also served in public affairs positions in Mexico City, Mexico; Lagos, Nigeria; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Pretoria, South Africa."

Ukraine’s European U-turn: Another failure of the EU as a fully-fledged international actor? - Nicholas Ross Smith, neweasterneurope.eu: "The EU as a public diplomacy actor is something which is gaining a lot of traction in the literature and certainly its ability to appeal to foreign publics has been an important device in the past. However, whereas in the case of Slovakia, the EU was able to subvert the regime of Vladimir Meciar through appealing to the general population and the opposition, in the case of Ukraine it is far more difficult and complex. ... EU’s policies towards Ukraine have suffered from inherent policy-making flaws, something which needs to be rectified if the EU is to emerge as a fully-fledged international actor and as a pole in a future multipolar world." Image from

Ukraine poised to sign deals with Russia - Andrew Gardner - europeanvoice.com [13.12.2013]: "European officials and diplomats believe that Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych will sign economic deals with Russia on Tuesday (17 December), dampening residual hopes that he is prepared to undertake reforms in order secure emergency funding from the West. ... Yanukovych has sought to re-establish public diplomacy about the trade deal, sending the country's deputy prime minister, Serhiy Arbuzov, to Brussels yesterday (12 December) for talks with Štefan Füle, the European commissioner for the EU's neighbourhood policy."

Expert: Eurasia needs a lot of positive factual information - news.belta.by: "The international conference on information challenges of Eurasian integration 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."

Interview: Padraig Carmody, author of The Rise of the BRICS in Africa - shanghaiist.com: "[T]he way in which China engages in Africa is quite distinctive, for a couple of reasons. China has foreign exchange reserves of about, or over 3 trillion dollars now, which is the biggest foreign exchange reserve in the world.

That means a lot more money can be brought to bear; in terms of infrastructure projects, in terms of building new stadia, in terms of helping building new presidential palaces, or other public diplomacy initiatives." Image from entry

Foreign politicians turn to social media in diplomacy with China - Xinhua, wantchinatimes.com: "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.' Li said that China has been extremely active on the global political stage. 'Especially for Europe, China is a lively emerging economy. Countries hope to build and maintain close economic relations with China and attract investment.'" Image from entry, with caption: A screenshot of David Cameron's profile on Sina Weibo

New chapter in foreign relations - Ling Yuhuan and Sun Xiaobo, Global Times: "Public diplomacy 'fruitful' [:] Public diplomacy, as a significant means of promoting the national image and expanding international influence, became one of the main topics at the annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia in 2013. China has endeavored to establish a positive international cultural profile, in accordance with its economic growth. The 'Chinese dream,' a concept proposed by Xi, guided the public diplomacy

of China in 2013. 'The Chinese dream, which conveys China's pursuit of peaceful development instead of hegemony, will build a positive peace-seeking and modest international image for China. Public diplomacy propagating the Chinese dream will influence China (and the world) profoundly in the future,' claimed Su Jingxiang, vice director of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations Center for Globalization Studies. According to Jia Qingguo, vice director of Peking University School of International Studies, China's diplomacy in 2013 showed the switching of attitudes toward global governance. 'China is gradually gaining a leadership role in managing international affairs,' said Jia, adding that 'However, how to balance domestic interests and international ones will be a critical task.'" Image from

China's Natural Gas Sector to Develop Quickly in Near Future - english.cri.cn: "China's natural gas sector will develop quickly in the near future, which offers 'golden opportunities' for business and cooperation, an Hong Kong-based think-tank said in a report on Monday. The paper, known as 'CEFC China Energy Focus: Natural Gas 2013', was released by the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) at the National Press Club in Washington DC. ... The CEFC is a nonprofit NGO engaged in energy strategy research, energy and public diplomacy, as well as global energy cooperation and cultural exchange."

China FM sees 'important change' in N. Korea after Jang's execution - globalpost.com: "Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that he has observed an 'important change' in recent developments in North Korea after the stunning execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle. When asked by a reporter about the recent developments in North Korea, Wang answered, 'I think that an important change is taking place in the situation of North Korea.'

Wang made the remarks after giving a keynote speech at a forum in Beijing, hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association." Jang image from

Stories of China's reform - Li Zhaoxing, People's Daily Online: "Li Zhaoxing was China’s foreign minister 2003-2007. He is the current president of China Public Diplomacy Association."

Changing the narrative — Wazhma Frogh Zulfiqar - dailytimes.com.pk: "I have always believed that the biggest challenge of Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s political tensions have a lot to do with dishonesty on both sides. They need to be frank about their positions and interests and find ways to deal with them in terms of real politics because public diplomacy has not yielded any fruits yet. ... The author is co-founder and executive director of the Research Institute For Women, Peace and Security, Afghanistan."

Turkey top provider of humanitarian aid overseas - hurriyetdailynews.com: "Turkey is among the countries raising the highest levels of foreign aid, by increasing the amount of funds it provides for nations abroad by 30-fold in the past 10 years, according to official data. Turkey is carrying out humanitarian and development support activities in over 100 countries across five continents, with its total outgoing foreign aid reaching over $3.4 billion, a written statement disclosed by the Prime Ministry Public Diplomacy Coordination unit has said."

Power do we have a story to tell? [Google "translation"] - Kadri Gursel, dunya.milliyet.com.tr: "The previous day in Nicosia, near East University, 'Public Diplomacy Certificate Program for 'framework' of mass communication tools of public diplomacy role in 'on a conference I gave. language to English original, the 'public diplomacy' as well, I think the wrong format 'public diplomacy' as a transferred The correct name of this concept is actually located in Turkish 'public diplomacy' should be. Concise definition of 'another country's people and the public targeted diplomacy' is. these notes, the former as 'Galata-i-famous lexicon-i fasih from the boy saying', 'public diplomacy' name without adopting that I use to place on record'm falling for you.

Speaking during the public diplomacy but properly or another by less flawed democracies democratic country effective when carried out for the public or the buyer might have emphasized the results. Ideally, this is it. Public diplomacy, the best form of democracy democracy works. An oppressive regime, public diplomacy can only dream of applying to get results. nation's 'soft power ', 'public diplomacy' is the facilitator. Soft power, the country's total attraction is. 'soft power', he first come to mind, the regime's democratization, rule of law the distinction of being the country's wealth and welfare, foreign policy, economy and industry competitiveness, individual rights and freedoms development in the fields of science, contribution of internal and external problem-solving capacity, humanist and non-discriminatory foreign aid programs. what a proper democracy, nor longer sufficient soft power have a country with an effective public diplomacy of execution also is not possible. Turkey the mean, of course. Consequently , the soft power theory, the father of the American political thinker Joseph Nye has said, international politics is no longer a 'competitive credibility contest' was transformed. The world of traditional power politics of the past, whose military or economic power gains were about. Of the information age politics in the end who's story winner here about what it is. course of the story happened as he put the story believable and trustworthy to be or to remain so to fuck, success is a prerequisite. Behold, Turkey again, I mean. Nicosia majority of military, police and diplomats participants in them after telling Istanbul to'm back and yesterday morning my newspaper that read 'tourism story in our democracy and freedom, entitled' A notice me very amused. Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik Antalya at a meeting, 'a country of the story sold to the extent that advertises itself . (...) Turkey's story is this: September 11th in the world after the security guard of view angle on the way to Turkey proceeded to the side of democracy and freedom. (...) We have changed 10 years ago scissors. Has attracted the attention of the whole world, ' he spoke. Minister of Steel 's told 10-year-old, old story ... Now the story became a story. those stories, journalists imprisoned on reaching the story was the people's individual freedoms, personal life haunts when the story was; sectarian, Islamist and a source of instability foreign policy because of the story was the EU reforms was back, the story was; Trip to the gas squeeze' interest rate lobby 'says the story was, and finally oozed pus AKP-Jamaat fight with the story is going. Reliability and credibility of the story was. Turkey is no longer a new story and it will tell you the new and reliable actors strongly needs.[']" Image from

The legal case for Judea and Samaria - Nadav Shragai, JNS.org: "Alan Baker ... [is] an attorney and a member of the Levy Committee which was formed in 2012 to investigate the legal status of the outposts and the settlements and which came to the conclusion that Judea and Samaria are not occupied territories. The former Israeli ambassador to Canada, Baker heads a new group of experts in international law which has already written to Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in protest of their 'mistaken and misleading' positions.

The group includes Yaakov Neeman, the former Israeli justice minister; Baroness Ruth Deech, a member of the British House of Lords and a professor of law at Oxford; and Meir Rosenne, the former Israeli ambassador to France and the U.S. 'The Israeli government for years has refrained from waging a hasbara (public diplomacy) campaign based on advancing our rights,' Baker said. 'Instead, it has waged a hasbara campaign based on apologies. The right thing to do was to operate out of a sense of advancing our rights, the rights of the Jewish people as an indigenous nation in its land.' Baker said Israel 'has refrained from emphasizing that what we are dealing with is not occupation. It is inconceivable that the entire world will repeat the mantra about Judea and Samaria being occupied territory when from a factual standpoint there is no legal basis for this,' he said." Image from entry, with caption: The Jewish community of Beit El in Judea and Samaria

Boko Haram Nigeria Changes Tactics - Bayo Oladeji,en.africatime.com: "If the information available to Defence Focus on the counter-insurgency is anything to go by, the war against the Boko Haram terrorists is taking a new dimension that is out to isolate them from the populace and break their communication links. The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Col SamboDasuki (rtd) on Monday, at a Strategic Communication Workshop held at the National Defence College, Abuja, said the Presidency has realized that force alone could not stop the terrorism unless it is merged with a populist approach. ... If what Dasuki said at the workshop is anything to go by, government would now make use of what he described as ‘a robust public diplomacy’ which would involve every facet of the society including aggressive mass media participation. His words, 'Nigeria realizes that military action on its own will not counter terror if not accompanied by a robust public diplomacy aimed at defeating the ideology of hate and building consensus against violent extremism. That is why strategic communication is an essential part of our counter terrorism operations. Nigeria will continuously update its strategic communication needs to reflect current challenges occasioned by terrorism'. According to him, 'In all areas of strategic communication programmes, focus will be placed on: unity and indivisibility of Nigeria as a nation; Democracy and the fundamental freedom of worship and belief; public safety and good governance and zero tolerance for violent extremism.'”

Indonesia’s challenges -- from poverty to Papua - Jeff Kingston: japantimes.co.jp: "I met Dewi Anwar Fortuna, a former foreign minister who is now assistant to Vice President Budiono, I asked her about prospects in Papua. ... Fortuna deflected my suggestion of an East Timor solution — meaning a referendum about remaining part of Indonesia — and emphasized that progress has been difficult because of Papua’s endemic corruption.

She explained that the key is capacity-building, autonomy and respect from Jakarta, and lamented that the government has not been deft in its public diplomacy." Image from

History fair at Fazlani L’Académie Globale - indianexpress.com: "The festival was graced by eminent personalities, ambassadors, bureaucrats, parents and stalwarts from various walks of life. ... Some of these were ... Mr. Manu Arya, Advisor Culture and Public Diplomacy- Norway."

Es gira molta feina - Xavier Ginesta, , elperiodico.cat: "Govers és editor de la prestigiosa Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, una de les revistes de referència del sector."


Moonwalking in Syria: U.S. efforts there may be giving only the illusion of forward motion - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: The situation in Syria today: a civil war among four main factions, in which the group supported by the United States, the Free Syrian Army of Gen. Salim Idriss, appears to be the weakest. The administration could continue what it's doing now: trying to resuscitate Idriss' Free Syrian Army, seeking a rapprochement with the Islamic Front and working to keep diplomatic talks alive. Frederic C. Hof of the Atlantic Council, another Syria expert, calls that "the moonwalk option" — the illusion of forward motion while standing in place — and it's the most likely outcome.

It won't end the agony of Syria's people or eliminate the danger of jihadist mini-armies. But it will minimize the immediate risk of U.S. military entanglement — and that, like it or not, has been Obama's first priority all along. Image from entry, with caption: Free Syrian Army fighters run after attacking a Syrian Army tank during fighting in Aleppo, Syria.

Kim Jong Un's reign of fear: What's next? His latest brutal crackdown bodes ill not only for the North Korean people but for South Korea, China and the U.S. - Scott Snyder, latimes.com: Last spring, North Korea's threats of a preemptive nuclear strike on the United States and Pyongyang's continued pursuit of nuclear and missile development earned Kim a reputation among Korea-watchers in the U.S. as a wild card whose behavior is not as predictable or sure-footed as that of his father. Moreover, following Jang's demise, there is no advisor other than his ailing aunt who can risk challenging Kim or telling him what he does not want to hear, including the message that the U.S. will continue to oppose a North Korea that insists on nuclear development.

Asia's Reaction to Chinese Bullying: East Asia lines up with the U.S. and Japan to resist Beijing - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The emergence of a great power is always fraught with danger, as the world learned with Germany in the years before World War I. The new generation of Chinese leadership seems dangerously ignorant of this history and lacks self-awareness of how its aggressive moves could cause neighbors to band together against it. They had better catch on soon.

Review: Coyne’s “Doing Bad by Doing Good, Why Humanitarian Action Fails” - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "Christopher Coyne’s new book, Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Failsneeded a subtitle, I’d be willing to offer up 'We Meant Well, Too.' Coyne’s book puts into formal terms what I wrote about more snarkily in my own book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People: large-scale attempts at reconstruction, long-term humanitarian aid, nation building, counterinsurgency or whatever buzz word is in favor (I’ll use them interchangeably in this review), not only are destined to fail, they often create more suffering through unintended consequences and corruption than would have occurred simply by leaving the problem alone.

Coyne makes it clear that continued U.S. efforts at nation building in Afghanistan (Haiti, Libya, Syria…) will not accomplish America’s national goals and will actually make the lives of the locals worse in the process. This book should be required reading for every U.S. government employee headed to Afghanistan and beyond." Image from

Shame of the Academy: The American Studies Association votes to boycott Israel - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The political corruption of the American academy is by now an old story, but every so often it reveals itself in a new and shocking way. The latest example comes from the professors of the American Studies Association, which on Monday announced that two-thirds of its members had voted in favor of boycotting Israel.

Boycott by Academic Group Is a Symbolic Sting to Israel - Richard Pérez-Peña and Jodi Rudoren, New York Times: Members of the American Studies Association voted by a ratio of more than two to one to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, signaling that a movement to isolate and pressure Israel that is gaining ground in Europe has begun to make strides in the United States. Next month, the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting will debate a resolution calling on the State Department to criticize Israel for barring American professors from going to Gaza and the West Bank when invited by Palestinian universities.


America's Wealth Is Staggeringly Concentrated in the Northeast Corridor - Emily Badger, theatlanticcities.com: At the county level, America is a tremendously unequal place. There are more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. Of the 75 with the highest incomes, 44 are located in the Northeast, including Maryland and Virginia. Image from entry


--Image and text from, with caption: [Washington] Metro has proposed adding more than a dozen new stations by 2040.