Friday, December 20, 2013

December 18-20

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.”

--St. Francis, via GC on Facebook; image from, with caption: Giotto di Bondone - Legend of St Francis

"[P]eople in 2013 have an entirely different relationship with phones than they did 34 years ago."

--U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, castigating what he called an "almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States."


FDD2013: Is the West Losing the War of Ideas? - YouTube. Via RR on Facebook: "Published on Dec 12, 2013: "At the 2013 seminar by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, this panel discussed, 'Is the West Losing the War of Ideas?' The panel was moderated by FDD President Cliff May and including James K. Glassman, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Robert Reilly, a former head of the Voice of America and the deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Bret Stephens." [JB note: Includes discussion of public diplomacy and USIA.]


Devyani Khobragade: Bureaucratic and diplomatic negligence - PJ Crowley, "Every crisis theoretically provides an opportunity. But the current diplomatic rift between the United States and India seems to be a lost opportunity to avoid a crisis. Rather than deepening relations, the two countries are deep into a lengthy period of crisis management. The brouhaha was triggered by the arrest of the Indian deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade. Ms Khobragade was accused of lying on an application for her housekeeper's work visa, over-reporting the amount of money the housekeeper was paid.

This is the third case of alleged mistreatment by Indian diplomats in New York in three years. The US contends that Ms Khobragade's limited diplomatic immunity does not cover private conduct that violates US law. ... That India and the United States have allowed a minor legal case to become a major test in US-India relations is bureaucratic and public diplomacy negligence. After all, tending to the big picture is supposedly what governments and foreign ministries do for a living. There are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about US-India relations. Mutual interests far outweigh differences. But if this week is any indication, the road ahead will be bumpy. PJ Crowley is a former Assistant Secretary of State and now a professor of practice and fellow at The George Washington University's Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communication." Image from article, with caption: Devyani Khobragade at a fundraiser on 8 December. See also

Economic Aspects of the Asia Rebalance: Testimony -- Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Statement Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Washington, DC, December 18, 2013 - "Chairman Cardin, Ranking Member Rubio, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today with Department of Commerce Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John Andersen to testify on the Economic Aspects of the U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. ... The Department recognizes that U.S. economic ties to the region are the fundamental underpinning of our relationship and, for the overall rebalance to be successful, we must get the economic component right. I would like to emphasize that to get it right requires a whole-of-government effort in close partnership with our private sector. Here in Washington, we need to work on policy formulation and coordination, and in the field, the various agencies within the U.S. missions in the region need to work effectively as teams to implement our programs, initiatives, and policies and to advance U.S. interests. For our part, the Department is dedicating diplomatic, public diplomacy, and assistance resources to the region in a way that is commensurate with the truly comprehensive nature of our engagement."

The Heritage Foundation: The U.S. Should Lead on Ukraine - Ariel Cohen, "[T]he Obama Administration has shown little willingness to lead on Ukraine. It is time for firm U.S. leadership, sending a clear signal that Washington stands with the protestors on the streets of Kyiv. The United States should: --Increase coordination of Ukraine policy with its European allies, including an offer of a comprehensive economic reform package, such as a technical assistance program to repair the ailing economy, a significant increase in trade with Europe and the U.S., and the IMF loan. -- Ensure that Ukraine behaves within the Helsinki accords and other human rights norms and requirements and introduce targeted sanctions such as visa bans against those who violate the law-as well as their family members. Violations of human rights by the security forces should be documented, including by videotaping evidence, to prepare for prosecutions and sanctions against the culprits. -- Open international investigations against corrupt senior officials and oligarchs, including for money laundering, weapons trafficking, and other violations committed by senior Ukrainian officials. -- Boost public diplomacy efforts aimed at both Ukraine and Russia explaining why the U.S. is taking such policy steps."

Sectarian war crimes in `Adra - As'ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: "As usual, Syrian rebels committed yet another war crime in `Adra but there was not one mention that I saw in the US press. Typically, the lousy Human Rights Watch office in Beirut was too busy peddling propaganda talking points for the Fee Syrian Army.

The last two years did more to discredit Western human rights organizations than the last few decades in my estimation. The connection between those organizations and the US government's agenda is too obvious to ignore. Those organizations are what the US governments refers to as 'public diplomacy' for its role around the world. Even the propagandistic, Qatari-funded Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the massacres but typically deflated the number of victims by scores. Apparently, your glorious Syrian rebels called on `Alawites and Druzes from loudspeakers to gather: and then they shot the men and boys and then 'transferred'--a new term for the kidnapping by Syrian rebels--to anther area." Images from entry; lower one caption: Iraqis react to Bush's "liberation" of their country.

Enough Project Urges U.S. Government to Act on Violence in South Sudan - Rachel Finn "In a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, the Enough Project calls on the United States to take steps to help avert a return to civil war in South Sudan, including the following: Facilitate or support mediation with key stakeholders to secure a political solution. Support the creation of safe havens and press for unrestricted humanitarian access. Enhance international public diplomacy and multilateral cooperation toward solutions."

Muslim Women and Children Confront Challenges in Myanmar - Engy Abdelkader, Huffington Post: "Since largely democratic elections in 2011 ushered in Thein Sein as Myanmar's president, the international community has rewarded perceived political and economic reforms with eased international sanctions, foreign business investments and enhanced public diplomacy initiatives. Most recently, in October 2013, Myanmar was awarded the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2014, in what was widely regarded as a diplomatic prize for its broad strides toward democratic reform.

President Thein Sein declared the theme of Burma's incoming chairmanship as, 'moving forward in unity in a peaceful and prosperous community.' Still, Myanmar's struggle with democracy is beset with an unfortunate human rights record marred by government sanctioned sectarian violence. ... [N]ew programmatic initiatives emphasizing progress and development for women in Burma should be inclusive of ... Muslim women. Such programs should encompass restorative justice mechanisms to help rehabilitate victims of human rights abuses and reintegrate them back into their communities." Abdelkader image from entry

The Obama-Castro Handshake - Colin Hale, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "During the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela, as tens of thousands gathered in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg and millions more watched on television, an entirely different story emerged: the ten-second interaction between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. ... The U.S. should be actively engaging its enemies through traditional and public diplomacy means, and as the leader of the free world, President Obama should always be willing to engage other foreign leaders and foreign publics, especially if they appear to want engagement as well (as shown with Iran and Cuba). If we are to believe that our democratic and human rights values are of the greatest importance, actively engaging our ideological opponents through public diplomacy and messaging will only strengthen our own resolve and weaken the rhetoric of our opposition."

Obama's Winter Olympics delegations: Smart Move For Obama Not To Show? - James Warren, “'By bucking tradition and not going to the opening of the Olympics in Sochi, President Obama is sending a message to the Russians -- but it's the wrong one,” says James Glassman, a former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. Except in extreme cases -- like Berlin in 1936 -- American leaders should vigorously support the Olympics as a great global unifier. The President should direct his animosity toward the Russians on policy matters that count, and there are loads of them: Ukraine, Syria, and Iran, for starters.' Some would argue, of course, as to whether Putin's approach to civil liberties might just be a matter that counts."

The White House Sochi Delegation - Alan Abrahamson, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: Mr. President, the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games that you announced does not include yourself, the First Lady, the vice president nor any member of your cabinet. ... This marks the first Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games that the president, vice president or a former president will not be a member of the American delegation for the opening ceremony. A White House statement said your schedule simply doesn’t allow your to travel to Sochi. ... [W]ith respect, Mr. President, what you have done today is disrespected the Russians — and in particular the Russian president, Vladimir Putin — big time. ... [Y]ou should have gone in a different direction in deciding who was, and was not, going to Sochi in the official White House delegation."

Biblioteca Benjamín; MUNAL; Suenos de la paz - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Today, after working a bit at my local coffee shop, I headed back to the Benjamin Franklin Library to do a lil PD pinch hitting.  It was a post-graduation Holiday celebration for Access students from PueblaAccess is the very-successful English-language program for economically-disadvantaged students from all over the globe.  Access is probably one of the best, and least-known, PD programs that the US does; I am a big fan of it.  Anyway, I got a last-minute invite to come participate on the panels of English chatter with the post-two year English grads.  Always down to help PD, I joined in the fun. I arrived to the Benjy Library to join on at the various tables to help the kids practice their English.  Since I was wearing my Filhos de Gandhi t-shirt (Sons of Gandhi), I decided to make that the focus of our chat. After I introduced myself, I asked the teens if they knew who was on my shirt. Gandhi! as some knew. Who was Gandhi?  We talked about how he used peace (and nonviolence) to chance the system he faced. Then I asked who had recently died.  Mandela! And who was Mandela?  Also one who used peace to change the system he faced.  And who was like Gandhi and Mandela from the United States? Martin Luther King!  And why was MLK famous? He used peace to fight racism in the United States.  And the students all said that he had a dream.  A dream for peace; 'what is your dream for peace,' I asked each student.  I got some great answers.  Dreams of peace in their communities; dreams of peace in their schools (fighting bullying); dreams of peace in their country; dreams of peace in the world."

CUSIB welcomes management reforms by Broadcasting Board of Governors - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "BBG Watch has learned that members of the independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB –, a non-partisan NGO which advocates for stronger U.S. international media outreach in support of press freedom and human rights, are pleased with a series of new management reforms undertaken by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Reforms were announced Wednesday by BBG Chairman Jeff Shell at an open board meeting in Washington, DC."

U.S. Public Diplomacy: A Look to the Past - Walter Roberts, American Diplomacy: "American public diplomacy as we conduct and understand it today began when the US government set out to reach the people of Germany, France and Italy with broadcasts in their languages. And that occurred on February 1, 1942. ... In the course of the war, the US built powerful short-wave transmitters that reached every corner of the world in multiple languages. ... International broadcasting is and will continue to be a vital element of public diplomacy which in turn is a vital element of diplomacy." See also.

Can a warrior Canada win hearts and minds? - "Canada has a different brand challenge from the USA. Since Lester Pearson, we have been a nation whose national brand and whose public diplomacy have centred around our peace keeping efforts. During the last few years, we have been progressively moving toward a new brand – that of a warrior nation. ... It fritters away Canada’s unique brand value proposition: peace and toleration."

A seminar entitled “Opinion formers from Azerbaijan” on NATO-Azerbaijan relations was held in NATO headquarters in Brussels - "A two-day event under the theme of “Opinion formers from Azerbaijan” on NATO-Azerbaijan relations took place in NATO headquarters in Brussels on the dates of 5-6 December, 2013. The event which Mr. Mehman Khalilov, chairman of the board of Ganja Euro-Atlantic Information Center, also attended was hosted by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. Opening speech and briefing on NATO’s Current Political Agenda was made by Mrs Despina Afentouli, regional coordinator for the Caucasus, NATO Public Diplomacy Division.

As the result of the speeches delivered by Mr. James Mackey, a head of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic integration and Partnership Section, Mr. Daniele Riggio, Press Officer of Public Diplomacy Division, Alexander DeFazio, a representative of the program of cooperation and regional security . ... Seminar attendees stressed that Azerbaijan is NATO’s active and committed partner. Speakers gave information on Azerbaijan’s significant contribution to peacekeeping operations conducted in Afghanistan, as well as NATO’s political positions on the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia." Uncaptioned image from entry

Cina 2014: una nuova diplomazia -  "Wang Yi, Ministro degli Affari Esteri della Repubblica Popolare Cinese (RPC), ha annunciato quali saranno le priorità diplomatiche della Cina nel 2014 durante la cerimonia di apertura del simposio 'New Starting Point, New Thinking and New Practice - 2013: China and the World', svoltosi il 16 dicembre a Pechino. L’evento è stato coordinato dalla CPDA (China Public Diplomacy Association), la prima organizzazione non profit nazionale dedicata alla promozione del soft-power cinese nel mondo. Costituitasi nel relativo silenzio della stampa straniera circa un anno fa, la CPDA è fortemente sostenuta dal Governo centrale che ha riservato la carica di Presidente dell’associazione al noto volto di Li Zhaoxing, Ministro degli Affari Esteri dal 2003 al 2007. La CPDA si inserisce di buon grado tra i numerosi sforzi del gigante asiatico di migliorare la propria reputazione sulla scena internazionale senza l’utilizzo di misure coercitive. Al già arduo compito, si aggiunge anche la preoccupazione della leadership di Pechino riguardo alla percezione del Paese a livello domestico, specialmente alla luce delle recenti dispute territoriali con i vicini Asiatici." Uncaptioned image from entry

The turbulent South China Sea - Editorial, The Jakarta Post: "Days after hosting a summit with the leaders of the 10-member ASEAN bloc, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet approved a national security strategy and increased its defense budget by 5 percent over the next five years, in a clear move against China’s harsher stance on the East China Sea. Smaller nations in Southeast Asia must anticipate spiraling tensions as China may also flex the same muscles to support its sovereignty claim on the South China Sea. ... Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping fully realize the positive and negative impacts of its military’s higher profile, as a result of its increasing economic power. The loud public diplomacy is a well measured tactic to appease domestic politics, as well as to increase its global leverage in its attempts to match the US as the sole superpower in the world."

Beijing's Public Diplomacy Challenge: China’s efforts at public diplomacy have produced mixed results on the world stage - Arthur Guschin, The Diplomat: "A ... significant achievement of China’s efforts in the public diplomacy

sphere is the positive impact it has on China’s domestic audience. ... [W]hile China’s public diplomacy is too bureaucratized and controlled to succeed on much of the world stage, it has produced impressive results on the domestic level. Image from article, with caption: Members of the Confucius Institute

China's natural gas sector to develop quickly - Directors Talk: "The CEFC [China Energy Fund Committee] is a nonprofit NGO engaged in energy strategy research, energy and public diplomacy."

China FM sees 'important change' in N. Korea after Jang's execution - "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."

Seoul city joins hands with foreign ministry for global promotion - "The Seoul metropolitan government agreed with the foreign ministry on Friday to join hands in globally promoting the nation's capital and spreading its administrative know-how, the foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon signed a memorandum of understanding on enhancing their cooperation in boosting the metropolitan city's international exchanges, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the agreement, the ministry will lend a hand to the city government in diffusing Seoul's development experience spanning from post-war poverty to growth into a globally known metropolis. The ministry and the city government will also seek joint projects in the sectors of culture, tourism and sports as part of national public diplomacy efforts, the ministry said."

Israel, BDS and bigotry - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I try not to venture too much into the Sandbox these days, especially not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I think I have to weigh in. The big news was the recent decision by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli academia as part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign. To be frank, I have no issue with the BDS movement. I don't like it or agree with it, and if I was still doing Israeli PD I would be glad to fight against it. But I have no problem with it."

The wrong way to fight foreign meddling in Israel: If Israel really wants to expose the moral corruption spawned by foreign governments funding anti-Israel groups, then there are far better options than legislation - Gerald M. Steinberg, "Once again, members of the government coalition have introducedlegislation to tax and curtail foreign government funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), aiming at groups involved in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), anti-Israel lawfare, racist activities and the undermining of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. ... A sustained effort focused on Europe, led by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and involving the elected representatives of all the Zionist parties, is clearly needed and urgent. This issue should be on the top of all Israeli encounters with European leaders, such as the recent visit of the Dutch prime minister and other leaders. In keeping with the 21st century emphasis on moral arguments and public diplomacy, these leaders could be told that funding for anti-Israel political NGOs might equally be exploited to justify foreign interference to support Basque separatists in Spain, Scottish and Welsh nationalists in the UK, and fringe groups that falsely accuse European leaders of war crimes in the Balkans, Iraq or Afghanistan. Rather than passing legislation that infringes upon democratic values and invites further demonization of Israel, the emphasis should be on holding Europe accountable for its destructive anti-Israel NGO funding policies. There are certainly more than enough positive and constructive causes out there truly worthy of their support."

Saudi Arabia and Israel - Let's Not Get Carried Away - Joshua Teitelbaum, Arutz Sheva:
"There is much speculation on a warming of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal. ... When it comes to Israel, the Saudis will continue to balance their national security considerations with their internal and regional legitimacy concerns. The political cost of improving relations with Israel is much higher than improving relations with Iran. ... As for the Israelis, the public diplomacy and psychological operations value of leaking meetings with the Saudis is limited and counter-productive. Israeli leaders would we well advised to keep these arrangements under the tightest of wraps, lest the Saudis ditch them entirely."

Israel Forever Foundation celebrate NYC launch with former IDF Spokesperson at Gansevoort Hotel - "The Israel Forever Foundation ( (IFF) hosted 350 New York City Young Jewish Professionals on December 16th, along with ( at The Gansevoort Hotel for a discussion with the immediate former IDF Spokesperson of the Judea Samaria Division, Captain Barak Raz (Res.). ... In his role as Spokesperson, Raz was responsible for all media and public diplomacy efforts of the division, working with organizations and individuals from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and around the world, including government officials, media, NGOs, human rights organizations, civic organizations, and more. Through his efforts, he was able to influence personal opinion of people all over the world to help them see the positive and productive efforts for peace and security that Israel continuously struggles to achieve."

Israel develops new vaccine against Hepatitis B virus - "Israel says its pharmaceutical company, SciGen, has developed Sci-B-Vac, the world's only commercially available third-generation vaccine against the dreaded disease, hepatitis B virus (HBV). The newly developed vaccine is a step towards combating the threat of hepatitis B virus in children, a statement issued in Accra by Ms Mina Okuru, Public Diplomacy Coordinator, Embassy of Israel, and copied to Ghana News Agency, said on Thursday."

The Red-Dead Agreement: Water Diplomacy in the Middle East - Naomi Leight, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "On December 9, 2013 at the World Bank senior officials from the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly manage the shared water resources of the Red Sea, Jordan River, and the Sea of Galilee

(commonly known as Lake Tiberias or the Kineret). ... If water stress can easily create conflict, water relief should be leveraged to create peace." Image from entry

Nothing new in the Caucasian Triangle - Mustafa Aydin, "Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Yerevan on Dec. 12 to attend the Council Meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation briefly focused the attention of regional experts to the Turkey-Armenia-Azerbaijan triangle. The visit was perceived, and in fact presented by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, as a signal for Turkey’s wish to start the thawing process in Turkish-Armenian relations. It was the first high-level visit from Turkey to Armenia since the two countries tried to patch up their relations in 2009 with two protocols and failed to pass them through their Parliaments, leaving behind a bitter aftertaste. Azerbaijan vehemently opposed the protocols from that time, and since then has been able to create further inroads in Turkey through additional energy projects, new investments, public diplomacy attack and new political connections."

An Emerging Actor in Humanitarian Diplomacy - Senem Cevik, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Humanitarian diplomacy is a growing field in diplomacy and is considered part of public diplomacy. ... Beyond any doubt, Turkey’s economic growth, investment in human capital, and knowledge along with political stability and resolving the domestic issues will have enormous effects on the countries ambitions in becoming a key humanitarian diplomacy actor and mediator."

David Roth traveled to Qatar for a closer look at the World Cup's future home. Below is the fourth installment of his five-part series - "Qatar's quest to become a global brand, not in the glib corporate-Twitter-account sense of #brand but in terms

of becoming a thing recognizable as an agglomeration of attributes and values and so on, can and probably should be understood not strictly as an exercise in autocratic vanity, but as a sort of public diplomacy and as an attempt to assert soft power." Image from entry

Egypt: SIS Chairman Meets With American Think Tanks - "State Information Service (SIS) Chairman Ambassador Amgad Abd el-Ghaffar met on Thursday December 19th, 2013, a delegation of American think tanks visiting Egypt this week. SIS and the role it plays internally and externally has been discussed in the meeting as well as the new draft constitution and its items and the road map and its future. ... In his response to ... enquiries, Ambassador Abd el-Ghaffar said that there are various efforts the state is exerting in conveying the truth to the West including the role SIS is playing as well as the state officials' foreign visits; especially, those of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy, in addition to public diplomacy delegations, for which SIS press offices abroad provide facilities and guarantee adequate media coverage."

Call for Proposals: PSBT-PD Film Fellowships 2014 - "PSBT is currently inviting proposals from independent filmmakers for fellowships in partnership with the Public Diplomacy Division. The last date for receiving proposals is 31 December 2013.

The Films are intended to project India’s soft power to overseas audiences. Filmmakers must bear in mind that these films are intended specifically for foreign audiences who may be uninitiated into Indian traditions and practices." Image from entry

Dialogue for the Future -- 16-20 December - "The Gorchakov Foundation’s annual scientific and educational forum, Dialogue for the Future, began Dec. 16 in Moscow. The project is organized to create a platform for discussing current international problems through the lens of public diplomacy. During the five-day program, participants will discuss the main focus and priorities of Russian foreign policy, as well as various aspects of humanitarian cooperation, security issues, and cooperation between Russia and NATO, the European Union, and other international organizations. Dialogue participants will be able to meet well-known Russian public figures, experts, and invited guests. Young international relations professionals, political scientists, journalists, and representatives of research centers and civil society in Russia, the CIS, and Baltic countries will also participate in the forum. This year young professionals from the Balkans, and Central and Eastern Europe will also be involved. The Dialogue program includes the Contact Forum on Public Diplomacy, in which Russian organizations involved in international humanitarian cooperation will present their programs."

President Obama Announces More 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 [.] ... Mr. Wood has been a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and the former U.S. Information Agency since 1988. 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."

Verily, a great man hath passed – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "'Al Goldstein, Pioneering Pornographer, Dies at 77’ Someday when it is time for moi to go, I can only hope that my obit reads ‘Pioneering Pubic Diplomacy’.”

An Imbalance in the Understanding of Globalization [includes video] - wikistrat: "Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at Aalborg University, Denmark, an Affiliate of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at the Kennedy School, an Associate Research Fellow at the Nordic Institute of Asia Studies and a member of the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on geopolitics and security."


Kiev Isn’t Ready for Europe - Samuel Charap and Keith A. Darden, New York Times: The West must recognize that Europe cannot integrate Ukraine by opposing itself to Russia.

A Decade of Decline in the American Dream: Today's volatile mood is a reminder of the early post-Vietnam years - William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal: Fifty-three percent say that the U.S. is less important and powerful globally than it was 10 years ago—the first majority to take that position in four decades of surveys. Not surprisingly, 52% of all Americans assert that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own"—the most lopsided endorsement of that proposition since the question was first posed a half century ago. Fully 80% want us to concentrate more on our own domestic problems and to build prosperity at home.

Boycott of Israeli universities: A repugnant attack on academic freedom -- Academic institutions should not be declared off-limits because of their national affiliation - Michael S. Roth, The American Studies Assn. recently passed a resolution that "endorses and … honor[s] the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions." Under the guise of phony progressivism, the group has initiated an irresponsible attack on academic freedom. Others in academia should reject this call for an academic boycott.

Why Other Countries Teach Better - Editorial, New York Times: The American work force has some of weakest mathematical and problem-solving skills in the developed world. In a recent survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a global policy organization, adults in the United States scored far below average and better than only two of 12 other developed comparison countries, Italy and Spain. Worse still, the United States is losing ground in worker training to countries in Europe and Asia whose schools are not just superior to ours but getting steadily better. The lessons from those high-performing countries can no longer be ignored by the United States if it hopes to remain competitive.

Does Iran truly want a nuclear deal? - Editorial, Washington Post: Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have devoted much time since the Geneva deal to persuading Congress not to approve additional sanctions on Iran. Perhaps their time would be better spent pushing the Iranian negotiators to stop posturing and stonewalling.

Congress is trying to stop a war, not start one - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: Iran saw (rightly or wrongly) weakness in Syria and now sees a president willing to alleviate the one pressure point he has, sanctions, for a very lopsided deal.

Bruce Oreck, Former Douche of the Week, Reclaims Title as America Weeps - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well:Many of you will remember how about this time last year we named U.S. ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck “Douche of the Week,” a prestigious title to go along with his official one. Oreck rose to these heights by sending out Christmas cards with the photo shown

to the left. Oreck fancies himself a well-built fellow, with a cheeky sense of humor. He is beloved by millions of his staff for presenting a regular guy image; he is beloved by millions of Finns for confirming their belief that Americans are complete idiots who should never be allowed to travel.


--One of many photos from: American photographer in the Soviet Union in 1931. Leningrad -


From; via MD on Facebook


Disney World Surprise - Didn't Go So Well...... -

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