Monday, December 9, 2013

December 4-9

"The reality is that public diplomacy is an empty shell ... "

--Blogger extraordinaire Paul Rockower, on Facebook; full quotation below, in the section at near end of this entry "A Terminological exchange on Public Diplomacy" [scroll down link for Rockower comment]; image from


Hilarious Photos of the East German Secret Police at Work - New Republic. Image from entry, with caption: Fom [sic] A High-Ranking Official's Costume Party.

Agents Dressed Up As Groups—Priests, Atheletes, Peace Activists—Under Stasi Surveillance.


Baltic Public Diplomacy - No One Size Fits All - Bruce Gregory, Public Diplomacy Council: "The Council’s successful First Monday lunch conversations on public diplomacy as a global phenomenon focused in December [December 2] on the Baltic States. Participants on a panel were Maria Belovas, Press and Cultural Officer, Embassy of Estonia, Jurijs Pogrebnaks, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Latvia, and Simonas Satunas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Lithuania. The event was moderated by the forum’s organizer, John Brown. The diplomats' insightful remarks focused on goals, activities, and challenges in the public diplomacy of small states. Ms. Belovas opened with a conceptual overview in which she questioned top down approaches and hard distinctions between 'diplomacy' and 'public diplomacy.' Today’s public diplomacy, she observed, occurs in a marketplace where gaining attention, creating a positive image, building a good reputation, and setting clear objectives and priorities are key. Mr. Pogrebnaks focused on ways to create brand identity with implications for city diplomacy. 'Brand Riga' is often more recognizable than 'Brand Latvia.' Mr. Satunas, using wit and an informative slide show, addressed public diplomacy issues in the context of Lithuania’s current Presidency of the European Union Council, its election as a member of the UN Security Council in 2014, and its contributions to NATO’s forces in Afghanistan. Finding ways to create brand identity and a positive image were dominant themes for diplomats representing states who worry about casual confusion between the Baltics and the Balkans, as well as between Latvia and Lithuania. Cultural diplomacy.

Sports diplomacy. Celebrity diplomacy. Place branding. History. Memories. Geographic location. These issues are important in the diplomacy of small states seeking trade, investment, and tourism – states with much in common, diverse interests, and friendly rivalries. Personal contact -- the 'personal touch' as Estonia's Maria Belovas put it -- is a major focus of their work. The diplomats also stressed eagerness to engage their diasporas in the U.S. (85,000 Latvian-Americans and nearly one million Lithuanian-Americans by their estimate), and expressed pride in the achievements of these communities. The Baltic States panel reminds again that public diplomacy is now part of a robust global conversation in which no-one-size-fits-all. This forum and earlier Public Diplomacy Council programs this fall with diplomats from Israel, Japan, and Turkey (together with the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association's November event at the House of Sweden with diplomats from Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) demonstrate there is much to be learned by scholars and practitioners from comparative assessments of public diplomacy. Kudos to the Public Diplomacy Council and the University of Southern California for sponsoring this innovative and highly informative series." Image from


A New Era in Cultural Diplomacy: Rising Soft Power in Emerging Markets -- USC Center on Public Diplomacy hosts its 2014 conference examining the impact of soft power for emerging countries, such as China: "On February 28, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy will host a major conference on cultural diplomacy in emerging markets at USC Annenberg School for Communication AND Journalism. ... Panel #1: Cultural Diplomacy: Adapting to the 21st Century [-] This panel will address the adaptations and changes that cultural diplomacy has undergone in the 21st century, considering the multitude of actors now present in the cultural diplomacy sphere. Panel #2 - Confucius Institutes: A Global Cultural Exchange Endeavor [:] The Confucius Institutes are a platform for Chinese cultural diplomacy through language learning and cultural exchanges.

This interdisciplinary panel of experts will discuss the Confucius Institutes’ operations the United States and South Africa. Panel #3 - Dialogues Through Film [:] Film festivals are flourishing around the world, yet their role in fostering cultural exchange remains under-examined. This panel will examine how film festivals are a platform for creating shared cultural space." Image from


NSA Spying: A Threat to US Interests? Big-data snooping by the NSA and US companies unnerves many Europeans, polls suggest - Bruce Stokes, YaleGlobal: "The exposure of NSA spying has had an impact on America's image abroad, especially in Europe. In spring 2013, before extensive revelations of NSA activities, a median of 62 percent in five European Union nations – Britain, France, Germany, Poland and Spain – had a favorable view of the United States, according to a Pew Research Center survey. That included 76 percent for Italians, 64 percent for the French and 53 percent for Germans. That median was already in decline, down from 67 percent in 2009. It’s unclear whether the NSA affair will accelerate that erosion or prove a minor bump in the road in transatlantic relations. But there are some early warning signs. A recent poll by the German public broadcaster, ARD and the German daily Die Welt, found that only 35 percent of Germans consider the US government to be trustworthy.

Moreover, the US government's respect for individual liberty has long been a strong suit of American public diplomacy. Even in many nations where opposition to US foreign policy is widespread and where overall ratings for the United States are low, majorities or pluralities maintained that the country respects individual rights. ... Americans are of two minds about recent allegations of NSA surveillance of phone and email communications. They worry about its impact on international relations and their own privacy. But that concern continues to be trumped by an ongoing anxiety about terrorism. Europeans similarly share concerns about spying’s impact on privacy, but they generally do not think national security concerns are more important than privacy." Image from

A U.S. Reply, in English, to Terrorists’ Online Lure - New York Times: "For the past three years, a small band of online analysts and bloggers in a tiny State Department office have focused their efforts on trying to understand what inspires their target audience — men 18 to 30 years old, mostly in the Middle East — to violent extremism, and on finding ways to steer them away from that. The analysts speak Arabic, Urdu, Somali and Punjabi. In the pilot program that began Wednesday, the same analysts will for the first time also post messages on English-language websites that jihadists use to recruit, raise money and promote their cause. For now, the analysts will post only images and messages, not engage extremists in online conversations, as they do in the other languages. 'We need to be ready to blunt their appeal,' said

Alberto M. Fernandez, a former American ambassador to Equatorial Guinea who is the coordinator of the State Department office, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. ... The State Department efforts are part of a broader public diplomacy push across the United States government to combat violent extremism. The military’s Central Command established a Digital Engagement Team in 2008 to carry out similar tasks. The team consists of 12 native speakers of Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Urdu, Persian and Russian. ... In September, the United States and Turkey announced the creation of a $200 million fund to combat violent extremism by undercutting the ideological and recruiting appeal of jihadists in places like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. The new fund, the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, will award grants to an array of projects, including websites and social networks to educate young people about the dangers of extremist ideologies. ... Administration officials acknowledge that many challenges remain. Financing delays and bureaucratic inertia have in the past hampered Mr. Fernandez’s center and its three dozen staff members. But State Department officials said that the Boston attack and mounting evidence of Al Qaeda’s appeal to English speakers also focused attention on the problem in recent months at other agencies, including the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon, as well as, most important, the White House." Fernandez/Hughes image from

Foreign Policy? Follow the Money - James Gibney, Bloomberg: "In foreign policy as in life, budgets generally say more than speeches. You wouldn't know that from the recent 14-page special report on U.S. foreign policy in the Economist, which doesn't even mention the State Department's budget. Yes, we get the obligatory chart showing the U.S.'s military spending outstripping that of its rivals and partners. But that's only a small part of the U.S. foreign-policy story. On most days, and in most places, the U.S. is not launching drone strikes or streaming B-52s through the skies.

Instead, at more than 300 U.S. diplomatic facilities in more than 190 countries, 11,000-plus U.S. foreign-service employees (not including local hires) are issuing visas, hosting delegations, delivering diplomatic bouquets or brickbats, arranging cultural exchanges, or reporting on everything from business conditions to religious freedom. You'd think that where and how the U.S. spends its diplomatic dollars would be of interest to readers interested in this general topic. Yes, parsing budgets is much less fun than globe-twirling and quote-swapping. But it has its uses: For starters, a look at the trajectory of U.S. foreign-affairs funding does not suggest that it's 'time to cheer up,' as the Economist puts it, especially when you contemplate the growing amount of money the State Department devotes to building bunkers and the declining amount it spends on public diplomacy. For the last decade, Congress has routinely failed even to complete the authorization process for State Department funding, which doesn't bode well for a robust, consensus-driven foreign policy in the future. Budget requests also shine useful light on things that might escape notice: The biggest increase in funding in the State Department's request from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013, for example, was a 330 percent bump in ‘Gender Funding,’ or those programs advancing the status of women and girls. And consider the foreign-policy money, or lack thereof, behind the ‘Asia pivot’ the administration unveiled with fanfare in 2011. For two years thereafter, staffing and foreign-aid levels in Asia actually remained mostly flat. Funding for cultural exchanges by the Asia Foundation and the East-West Center was slashed. Only now, with the fiscal year 2014 budget request, are staffing and aid levels inching up. So the next time you want to know what's really going on with U.S. foreign policy, focus more on how policy makers spend, not just on what they say." Image from entry, with caption:  There's more to the State Department than B-52s, but they do make for the best pictures.

Susan Rice: Obama Administration leads on human rights - "The Obama Administration has created the new positions of Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the State Department and Coordinator for Disability and Inclusive Development at USAID.

With the leadership of these senior officials, the United States can better ensure that foreign assistance and development programs incorporate persons with disabilities, that the needs of persons with disabilities are addressed in international emergency situations, and that our public diplomacy addresses disability issues." Rice image from

Funds crunch squeezes people out of jobs - "An estimated 30,000 mostly young men are likely to have lost jobs with the disbanding of PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], introduced by the US in 2002 to support public diplomacy and reconstruction efforts in less secure provinces. Until a year ago there were PRTs in 27 provinces under the charge of the various ISAF partners. The Ministry of Economy has announced PRTs (provincial reconstruction teams) have shut down in all but three provinces 0 Ghazni, Uruzgan and Farah. ... Najibullah Amin, the spokesperson for the ministry, confirmed the vast majority of those whose jobs with PRTs were terminated are still jobless. Gul Rasoul, a resident of Khost province, who has lost his job says, 'Many young people like me are jobless. We were working in PRT.' PRT projects -the Ministry of Economy estimates 900 million dollars were spent by PRTs in Afghanistan – were handed over to provincial governments like in Paktika. But they are cash strapped and work is at a standstill.

Civic Engagement in a Global Context or What Is a Service-Learning Coordinator Doing in Pakistan? - Katie Peacock, "My work at the University of Minnesota is to support and promote civic engagement in curricular and co-curricular education. The main focus is working with local organizations and faculty to integrate community engagement into courses across the U of M, so it seemed strange to me why I was being invited to Pakistan. The U of M was selected as one of five U.S. institutions to participate in a new initiative organized by Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) in Washington DC. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, the project twinned five U.S. and Pakistani universities to build capacity for civic engagement and youth leadership. The year-long project resulted in a series of exchanges, including visits to partnering campuses. The Office of Public Engagement (OPE) under the leadership of Dr. Andy Furco

was the anchor for the U of M’s involvement on the project but there was also participation from a wide range of units across campus. Amber Cameron, Associate Director of OPE, Ross VeLure-Roholt, Associate Professor in Youth Studies, and myself would be the 3-person team to travel to Pakistan to teach and learn about civic engagement. Why Pakistan? The US State Department has identified Pakistan as a critical geo-political nation for US international relations. It borders Iran and Afghanistan to the west, China to the northeast and India to the southeast. It is one of three nuclear powers in the region (along with India and China) and is also a critical relationship in US diplomatic relations with the Middle East. The grant through the US State Department was to fund 'public diplomacy'–citizen to citizen interaction to move beyond political and military relations between the two countries. Higher education and civic engagement were the content areas to achieve the public diplomacy goal." Image from entry, with caption: U of M delegation with faculty and students from UVAS and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson.

About YALI - "The Obama Administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa." Via ACP III on Facebook

CNN Has Obama Nominee Connect Mandela to Obama -- Without Disclosing He's an Obama Nominee - Matt Hadro: "On Friday morning CNN hosted Richard Stengel, an Obama administration nominee, to discuss the President's connections to the late Nelson Mandela without disclosing Stengel's pending

State Department position. Stengel is the former managing editor of Time magazine and hailed Obama's 'eloquent' words: 'I thought the President was very eloquent yesterday, talking about what President Mandela meant to him. I think, in many ways, Mandela was partially responsible for Barack Obama's own political awakening.' " Image from entry

Biden with granddaughter - Kim Jae-won, "U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is being accompanied by his granddaughter Finnegan Biden on his three-day visit to Korea, which started Thursday. According to experts this exemplifies a part of American diplomacy that seeks to communicate directly with the public of the country involved. ... It is common for American leaders to bring family members on official overseas trips. U.S. President Barack Obama took his two daughters ㅡ Malia and Sasha ㅡ to France, England, Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was also accompanied by his daughter Chelsea from time to time during his overseas trips. However, taking family members as matter of public diplomacy

is still unfamiliar here. Former President Lee Myung-bak drew criticism for taking his daughter and granddaughter on an official visit to India in January 2010, though Cheong Wa Dae said the family covered their expenses for the trip. Back then, opposition parties issued statements, criticizing him for spending taxpayers’ money on his family. However, such an idea seems to be changing of late. Some citizens say that there is nothing wrong for the head of state to be accompanied by his or her family members, if they pay their own expenses. 'I think the U.S. adopts sophisticated strategies in implementing public diplomacy with families of the president and the vice president. Taking family members on official trips is an effective way to approach the foreign public in a pleasant and comfortable fashion,' said Lim Soo-hyang, a 32-year-old housewife in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province." Image from entry, with caption: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, and his granddaughter Finnegan Biden wave upon arriving at Osan Air Base in Osan, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday.

State Department Buys Million Dollar Granite Sculpture from Irish-Born Artist - At the end of September, the federal government's fiscal year was drawing to a close, the threat of a shut down was increasing, and the State Department was shopping for art.  Four contracts were awarded in the last two weeks of September, including $1,000,000 for a granite sculpture by Irish-born artist Sean Scully to be installed at the new U.S. Embassy in London.  Notice of the awards was posted Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend on the Federal Business Opportunities website. Although the form of the Scully sculpture is not identified in the award notification, the artist has produced granite sculptures before, including this one entitled 'Wall of Light Cubed 2' in 2008:

The remaining three awards include a bronze sculpture, 'Flowers', by American artist Donald Baechler ($150,000), for the new U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan; a mosaic mural by Miotto Mosaic Art Studio in Carmel, NY ($150,000), for the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil; and a work entitled 'The Black Arch' by Saudi Arabian writer Raja Alem and artist Shadia Alem, for the new U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When asked for comment on the contract awards, a State Department official provided the intended destinations for the artwork, as well as the following statement: [']The Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies curates permanent and temporary exhibitions for U.S. embassy and consulate facilities. For the past five decades Art in Embassies has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy with a focused mission of cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and artist exchange.  Art in Embassies is a public-private partnership engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, and encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries. The art pieces listed below will become part of the collections at diplomatic posts and in some cases, comply with host city planning requirements that art be incorporated within the design scheme and displayed in public spaces.  These pieces are permanent purchases, not on loan. ['] The State Department's 2013 budget request included $2.5M for the Art in Embassies program." See also (1) (2) (3).

PR Club Hamburg: American Public Diplomacy - Interior Views of a decision maker [Google "translation'] - "Event Mon, 09 December 2013 19:00 - 21:30 clock Amerikazentrum Hamburg ... Thomas Miller, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs (Press and Culture) of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, on 9 December 2013 to host PR Club Hamburg. The event starts at 19 clock in the Americas Center in Hamburg in the HafenCity. Thomas Miller, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs (Press and Culture) of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, holds a keynote speech, followed by a discussion on the topic: 'American Public Diplomacy: Interior views of a decision-maker.' Lecture and discussion will be held in German. The event is conducted by the PR Club Hamburg in cooperation with U.S. Consulate General Hamburg and the Hamburg America Center."

Voice of America English news website features Russian spokesman but not Ambassador Rice on rights violations in Russia and interference in Ukraine [December 5] - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "Decline of the Voice of America (VOA) English news website continues as it fails to post and update news stories in a timely fashion. Today, the VOA website featured a Reuters report on the Russian human rights spokesman but had nothing on U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice sharply criticizing China’s and Russia’s human rights record and Russia’s interference in Ukraine. ... The VOA English website also used today a Reuters report on Secretary Kerry’s comments about the situation in Ukraine rather than providing its own original reporting. ... The Voice of America English news website has also failed to report on numerous comments about the situation in Ukraine form members of the U.S. Congress."

Czech Helsinki Committee calls on BBG Chairman Jeff Shell to stop discrimination of foreign journalists at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - BBG Wathcer, BBG Watch: "In a letter addressed to new Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Jeff Shell, Czech Helsinki Committee Chairwoman Tana Fischerova

asked him to put a stop to discrimination of foreign-born journalists employed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) at its headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. Tana Fischerova was a candidate in 2013 Czech presidential elections and is a former member of the Czech Parliament. She is also a member of the board of the Vaclav and Dagmar Havel Foundation VIZE 97 and a member of the Amnesty International. ... The latest sharp criticism of RFE/RL and BBG by the Czech Helsinki Committee is seen as a public diplomacy embarrassment for the United States. But management practices that have given rise to this criticism are even more embarrassing for the U.S. federal agency which has as its mission to support freedom and democracy." Fischerova image from

Martial law prisoners in Poland praised Reagan, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe - BBG Watcher, BBG Watcher: "In some countries like Iran, Tibet and China, even in the age of the Internet and smart phones, radio broadcasts remain the safest and still a vital link to uncensored outside information for pro-democracy and human rights activists and their families and supporters. ... In the early 1980s, America’s attention was on Poland and on Solidarity trade union leaders being interned by the communist regime of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who on December 13, 1981 had declared martial law. President Ronald Reagan and the rest of America immediately offered their moral and material support to Solidarność. ... In addition to U.S. broadcasts and public diplomacy outreach to the people of Poland, millions of U.S. dollars were channeled to underground Solidarity organizations and their supporters in the West to pay for printing of underground newspapers and purchases of other necessary equipment."

Public Diplomacy On the Way to the Office - Jonathan Henick, "On my relatively short commute the office this morning I came across three separate examples of public diplomacy — each of them conducted by a foreign country with target audiences in the United States. First, I read a charming op-ed by the Chinese Ambassador in the Washington Post that begins with the line, 'Many people don’t realize it, but there are actually two Chinese ambassadors in Washington: me and the panda cub at the National Zoo…'  ... Next, I listened to an NPR story from over the weekend reporting

that the Cuban government has decided to relax restrictions to allow its baseball players to go abroad and accept contracts to play in foreign countries.  ... Finally, I was greeted upon my arrival to the Foggy Bottom Metro station (the closest metro station to the U.S. Department of State) by a massive advertising campaign funded by the Canadian government.  ...  As we continue to debate the merits of public diplomacy here in the U.S. and appropriate levels of funding, we should take note of the fact that other countries clearly recognize its value and actively use it to advance their national interests.  We would do well to do the same! Image from

Philanthropy Notes: December 2013 - Matthew Vadum, "Goldman Sachs is planning to help the cash-strapped central bank of Marxist Venezuela fence almost 1.5 million ounces of gold between now and October 2020, according to the El Nacional news website in Caracas. The bullion is reportedly on deposit with the Bank of England. Goldman expects to create a financial instrument in order to trade the precious metal in the international market. The Venezuelan regime, which owns oil giant CITGO, conducts a robust so-called public diplomacy program in the U.S., donating home heating oil to help the poor and funding radical illegal-alien groups like Casa de Maryland."

A conversation with David Menashri on Iran - "David Menashri, Iran has been isolated in the world. There was tremendous pressure, and the sanctions were really making life bitter for the people of Iran. And since the election of [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani, we could see that they signaled that they want change. … For the president of Iran even to speak over the phone with President [Barack] Obama was a great step forward. Now I don’t think that Iran is willing to give up everything and go entirely in a new direction. But I think the signal is we are serious about their desire to go in a new direction. They have permission from the Supreme Leader to go to this direction.

But they don’t have much time. Steven Spiegel: Who made out better? DM: I think that the Iranians gained more because they made some concessions on the nuclear program that is, by and large, reversible. The concession that the West has done toward Iran with the sanctions, with unfreezing assets, it [will] be much more difficult to reverse. So I think that the Iranians have good reasons to be happy. And when they see the Israeli statements, they are even more happy because the public diplomacy of Israel convinces them that they’ve made a good deal. SS: Some have even suggested that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu went a bit overboard as a favor to President Obama for that very point that you’ve just made. DM: Imagine that Israel was making statements about how wonderful is the agreement. I can assure you that the reaction in Iran would have been different."

India 'more important' than China as an ally to US: China zooms past US as top economic power; US retains top slot in military power - Bruce Stokes, "21 per cent of Americans have no opinion of the world's second most populous country, suggesting New Delhi faces a public diplomacy challenge in the United States. The perception of India among some US foreign policy experts is more favourable. When members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a grouping of former diplomats, government officials and international relations specialists were asked in a separate Pew Research survey about which countries will be more important to the United States in the future, 37 per cent named India, while 35 per cent said  China and 25 per cent identified Japan. Only 20 per cent said the European Union. Nevertheless, this is a smaller portion of the CFR membership who named India than just four years ago, when 55 per cent saw India as a key future ally. The survey of the American public surfaced some good news both for Indian companies hoping to do more business with the United States and for the Indian government intent on deepening formal trade and investment ties with Washington. Fully 77 per cent of Americans say that growing trade and commercial ties between the United States and other countries are good for the US. ... There is less good news for Delhi on a neuralgic friction point in Indo-American relations: access to the US labour market for high-skilled Indian workers. ... So, while Americans are more open to economic engagement than they have been in the past, they also continue to exhibit a wariness about refocusing US policy toward Asia and have misgivings about accepting more high-skilled immigrants. Deepening and broadening the Indian-US relationship in the near term may prove an uphill struggle in this atmosphere."

World leaders and their China tours - People's Daily Online: "Prior to his state visit to China from Monday to Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed excitement at the anticipation of a ride in a Chinese high speed train and a hotpot in Chengdu, giving a touch of informality to the official event.

Over the past few years, world leaders like Cameron have often shown that they share the same interests in China as ordinary tourists, 'signaling that they really like the country', according to Yu Jun, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance who has studied public diplomacy for years. Chi huo, the Chinese equivalent of 'foodie', referring to someone who has an ardent interest in food, is a buzzword in China. Now, in the eyes of many Chinese netizens, Cameron can add it to his resume. As a matter of fact, many other world leaders share Cameron’s fondness for Chinese food. During his visit to China, US President Obama demonstrated considerable proficiency in using chopsticks, considered by many as evidence that he had had plenty of experience eating Chinese food." Image from entry, with caption: British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) enjoys Chinese tea at the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, Dec. 4, 2013. Du Fu was a famous Chinese poet in Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.)

What Foreign Confucius Institutes Directors Learn in China - Falk Hartig, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "CIs are not a propaganda tool if we understand the term in its negative and sinister sense. ... As any other government that runs cultural institutions abroad, the Chinese government sets up and partially funds CIs not just for fun and idealistic purposes, but for practical reasons as well. These include promoting Chinese language and culture, but CIs should also promote a positive image of China (whether this works or not, is another story) and they should contribute to creating a Harmonious World, which is one of China’s current foreign policy slogans.  Confucius Institutes therefore do not exist in empty space but should be seen in the broader context of China’s foreign policy. Again, I would say CIs don’t do politics as such by celebrating the CCP; but claiming that politics do not play a role, also does not work."

Super Typhoon Haiyan and Public Diplomacy of the Deed - Shannon Haugh, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The typhoon crisis [in the Philippines] shows the importance of addressing suffering with empathy and compassion in a timely fashion. Key to public diplomacy is engaging and listening. This is the moment for China to do both of these things. Will Chinese leaders be able turn the ship around?"

China’s Uyghur question as a strategic pit - Kilic Bugra Kanat, "The recent Tiananmen incident that led to the death of five people once again revived the debate on the Xinjiang/Uyghur question. The Uyghur issue not only exposes deficiencies in human rights and fundamental liberties in China but also appears as a hurdle for China’s two most pronounced strategic imperatives, namely 'building a harmonious society' and the 'peaceful rise of China.' ... Through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China

is on the one hand trying to eliminate the existence of Uyghur dissent groups, and on the other hand, to form a 'democracy prevention' program to stop the spread of ideals of human rights and democratization to Xinjiang and beyond. ... Public diplomacy campaigns by the Chinese government to promote and project its soft power fail to bring about significant results when the Xinjiang syndrome of China shapes its foreign policy towards the region." Image from, with caption: Under the officially declared fight against “three evil forces”, the Chinese government continues to stigmatize and repress its most vulnerable Uyghur population.

EU financial instruments for external action - "PI: a new instrument, replacing the Instrument for cooperation with industrialised and high-income countries. It will be the main instrument for cooperation with middle and upper income countries, including Russia, Brazil, and India. The PI will be used to implement the international dimension of the Europe 2020 agenda, including cooperation with partners on issues of global concern; to facilitate market access, trade, investment and other business opportunities for EU companies; and to improve the EU’s visibility internationally through public diplomacy."

Lithuanian Presidency reaches agreement on EU external financing - In one of the major achievements for the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER II) on December 3 endorsed the agreement with the European Parliament on seven legislative acts setting the rules for some EUR 51 billion in EU development aid, assistance to pre-accession and neighbouring countries, strategic partners, promoting human rights and responding to crises in the financial period of 2014-2020 . ... EU will provide some

EUR 2 billion in assistance through the Instrument for Stability and spend more than 1 billion euros to promote human rights through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. EU strategic partners are set to receive almost 1 billion euros to implement the international dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy, pursue public diplomacy, cooperation in science and education as well as economy." Image from entry

Removal of visa barriers would allow Russia and EU to develop humanitarian and economic ties - Alina Zaychikova, "According to some observers, visa-fee regime or simplification of visa requirements stimulates socio-cultural contacts, is favorable for economic co-operation between the countries and contributes to the development of public diplomacy, which makes a significant contribution to strengthening international understanding."

Workshop at Masdar Institute Highlights GCC's Interest in Clean Energy Solutions - "Hosted by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, the ‘EU-GCC Renewable Energy Policy Experts’ Workshop was organized by the Decision Support Systems Lab at the National Technical University of Athens (EPU-NTUA, of ICCS), in cooperation with the Gulf Research Centre (GRC) and Masdar Institute.

The workshop was part of the EU-funded public diplomacy project on 'Promoting Deeper EU-GCC Relations' and was actively endorsed by the 'EU-GCC Clean Energy Network', an initiative created jointly by the EU and the GCC to catalyse cooperation among the two regions on clean energy topics of common interest."

Co-op between NATO and Azerbaijan being discussed in Brussels - Sabina Ahmadova, Trend: "A two-day seminar titled 'Opinion Formers From Azerbaijan' has begun its work in NATO headquarters in Brussels. On the first day of the event, NATO coordinator for South Caucasus Despina Afentouli, head of NATO's Euro-Atlantic integration and cooperation Department James McKay, employee of the Department of Public Diplomacy Daniel Rigio, a representative of the program of cooperation and regional security Alexander Defazio and representatives of the Azerbaijani mission to NATO informed the participants about NATO's activity and cooperation between the alliance and Azerbaijan."

Mashav: Still up and running - Philip Marcus, "Mashav is the organization that puts into effect the emphasis on Development Diplomacy, which is an important focus of Israel’s foreign policy. From the foundation of the state, Israel has been a kind of development laboratory in numerous fields, and in 1958 Mashav was created so as to offer the fruits of

Israel’s experience to other nations. Since then, Mashav’s activities have broadened from assistance in agricultural methods, education, particularly in early childhood, public health and the role of women in promoting development to include humanitarian projects, including assistance to nations suffering from the effects of natural disasters . ... Mashav is a significant player in Israel’s ongoing public diplomacy efforts, despite its minimal budget, and its widespread activities are proof that the suggestion that Israel is isolated has no basis in fact." Image from

Nollywood as a tool for International Rebranding and Diplomacy - Bandana, "Film is seen by public diplomacy advocates as an enormously important avenue for otherwise diverse cultures to understand each other. It involves the use of truthful propaganda to communicate with citizens in other societies rather than their governments. Nigerians and Africans in Diaspora are constantly being barraged with news about high scale corruption, criminality, kidnapping etc. by aggressive and overbearing foreign media agencies. We must get adjusted to the fact that the world does not view us as we see ourselves.

Any time there was an explosion in the Niger Delta, the whole world raised their arms in despair to the extent that the world oil prices shot up. To an average foreigner, Nigeria was then in a state of war and the Niger Delta being compared to Darfur in Sudan. We can use our films to talk to world citizens and explain the true position of things, even to our fellow Nigerians abroad who are even afraid to come back home to visit or to come and invest in the economy. Through our movies, intending tourist will learn to disregard Travel Advisories pasted in their airports warning them about travelling to Nigeria." Image from

Aizaz Chaudhry likely to be Foreign Secretary - - "There are strong indications that career diplomat Abdul Basit may be picked up as Pakistan's High Commissioner to United Kingdom, paving the way for Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to be the next Foreign Secretary . ... Aizaz has served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the Netherlands (2009-2012). Represented Pakistan in The Hague based international organisations, including OPCW. He conducted public diplomacy in co-operation with Pakistani community to bring the people of Pakistan and the Netherlands closer."

Ministry withdraws summary of suspending gas to textile mills - "Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has withdrawn summary of suspending gas supply to textile mills in Punjab during peak winter season, said reliable industry sources. It may be noted that the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab had held a detailed meeting with textile industry leadership in Lahore. Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab

S M Tanveer and Gohar Ejaz had led a 20-member delegation and made an effective representation for seeking uninterrupted gas supply during extreme winter so that Punjab-based textile industry remain operative to produce textile goods predominantly meant for exports. Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had also strongly supported the textile industry cause before the Federal Minister, who according to the reliable sources, has directed the ministry to withdraw summary of cutting gas supply to textile industry in Punjab during December and January, followed by once a week gas supply during the month of February. The textile industry circles have eulogised the role of Chief Minister Punjab as well as paid kudos to the APTMA leadership for effective public diplomacy in the earnest need of hour." Image from

cafecito - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "First Mexican gastrodiplomacy experiment of the morning: trying to figure out if the

coffee maker heats the water hot enough to kill all the microbes." Image from

Lost for words: the value of investment in language training for diplomats - Alex Oxborough, "The recent opening of a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Language Centre, a replacement for the FCO language school closed in 2007 to cut costs, has highlighted the role languages play in diplomacy here in the UK. ... A report  published

this week by the British Academy - 
Lost for Words - warns that if the UK government does not urgently increase its commitment to language skills, and develop its capacity, the UK is in danger of losing influence. Bill Rivers, Executive Director for the US Joint National Committee for Languages, who himself speaks Russian and French to a professional level, along with 'smatterings' of Spanish, German and Kazakh, said: 'In the States, we've long recognized the value of linguistic and cultural skills for diplomacy and security.'" Image from

Sexist baggage revealed - Alison Broinowski, "Perhaps the most fundamental change we have seen around the world is not in gender roles but in the practice of diplomacy itself, whose inherited tradition of ostentation and keeping up appearances, once supplemented by the inherited fortunes of diplomats, is unsustainable and irrelevant to the modern world. ... Many foreign services now use social media to make contacts and promote their countries, relying more on public diplomacy than lavish entertainment, and engaging a wider range of people."

Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics -- Joseph S. Nye - Review by Aldo Matteucci, posted at The concept of ‘soft power’ as developed by Nye is akin to that of mana among the Maoris. The authority of the chief is augmented by his successes in war. He increases his mana by marriages, feasts and displays of power. His mana is diminished by overt humiliation, or loss in war or negotiation – the Chinese might call it ‘losing face’. Napoleon’s secret weapon was the aura of invincibility that froze his opponent’s hearts and minds. Modern words would be ‘political capital’ – the ability of a leader to rally the electorate around his political goals. Image and ‘public relations’ are everyday terms for ‘soft power’. In the business world one would use the term ‘goodwill’. ... So what else is new?

Little, I’m afraid. The book is a rather tortured and repetitive exposition of plain old truths – states have images; rulers have always been keen to enhance their image and they have not recoiled from doing so deliberately and often deviously. Reputations of states and leaders can be made, and destroyed also, as Napoleon discovered to his chagrin in 1812. Calling image ‘soft power’ does not really add to our ability to understand the issues." Image from

Restricted U.S. Army Psychological Operations Officer Training Manual - "Army PSYOP is the preeminent IO core capability and the U.S. military’s primary vehicle for communicating U.S. themes and messages to foreign TAs and influencing their behavior. As a core capability of IO, PSYOP supports U.S. public diplomacy, public affairs, interagency communications, as well as unit commanders. Both science and art, PSYOP are inherently effects based and frequently require joint and interagency coordination.

PSYOP help shape the physical, informational, and psychological dimensions of the battlefield and provide a nonlethal capability across the range of military operations. As information delivered for effect during peacetime and conflict, PSYOP inform and influence. When properly employed PSYOP saves lives of friendly and adversary forces, as well as noncombatants." Image from

A Delightful Brainstorming with Prof. Dr. Bağcı in the Near East Institute - "3rd lecture of Public Diplomacy Certificate Program organised within the scope of Lifelong Learning Programs of Near East Institute (NEI) attracted a great interest of the attending body as the previous courses did. ... The participants truly enjoyed the course because the lecturer, Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı enriched the course by interactive presentation and anecdotes.

Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı delivered information on the concept of public diplomacy, its history by associating concept with current local and international issues. He provided precious information to assist the participants to understand perception management easily. ... The next session of the certificate program will be held at the Green Hall of the Faculty of Engineering of NEU. Prof. Dr. Hasan Koni, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of Kültür University, will give 2 lectures on ‘Socio- Psychological aspects of Public Diplomacy’ and ‘What is Soft and Intelligent Power? How is it applied?" Uncaptioned image from entry

IUM Students participated in the seventh International Peace and Sport Forum - "The seventh International Peace and Sport Forum organized by Peace and Sport took place in the Principality of Monaco between the 6th and 8th November, in Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. We were fortunate enough to participate in the Forum on Thursday and Friday morning plenary sessions, which turned out to be extremely interesting. The Peace and Sport Forum is held every year since 2007. It is a neutral platform for networking, exchange and dialogue. It is already a major event on the sporting, political and diplomatic agenda for sustainable peace and its idea is to expand every year. ... The theme of the first plenary session on Thursday was 'Sport, a peace-building tool at the service of governments'.

The main themes were about how sport can be placed at the service of society, and be seen as an instrument of public policy. The moderator also asked the speakers about how governments can use sport as a vehicle for social cohesion. The session was started with keynote speaker H.E. Young Sam Ma, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Republic of Korea, who spoke about the many sport initiatives the Government of Republic of Korea has initiated, many of them in co-operation with Peace and Sport Monaco, e.g. Table Tennis Tournament to bring both Koreas together in a friendly environment." Image from entry, with caption: Opening Ceremony of the Peace and Sport International Forum 2013

Sié Fellowship - "The Sié Fellowship is a two-year, free-tuition scholarship to the Korbel School of International Studies awarded each year to ten outstanding master's degree-seeking students from the U.S. and abroad. The fellowship is highly selective and is granted to applicants that have superior academic credentials and significant work experience in the field. Sié Fellows are given a number of opportunities through each academic year to meet personally with the high-ranking figures that visit Korbel. This has included meetings with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright  speakers that present in the Public Diplomacy Speaker Series, and many more.

International Relations Conference at Symbiosis Institute of International Studies - "It will be interesting to attend an International Relations Conference on ‘India and Development Partnerships in Asia and Africa: Towards a New Paradigm’. This is conducted with the support of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India."

Suzanne Nossel to Speak in Scarsdale December 15 - "Nossel was named Executive Director of the PEN American Center in January, 2013. Her career has spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and non-profit sectors.

Prior to joining PEN she served as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA . ... Before joining Amnesty Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women's issues, public diplomacy, press, and congressional relations." Uncaptioned image from entry

Yo Soy I am: Bicultural empowerment for Latina entrepreneurs - Susana G. Baumann, "How does a little girl from Manati, Puerto Rico, who was transplanted to Norfolk, Virginia at six years old end up in Texas signing a contract with a multibillion dollar corporation to distribute her own designs and products? Ivette Mayo, a multicultural entrepreneur, motivational speaker, trainer, and owner at Yo Soy I Am, LLC, managed to make her American Dream a reality.

Hispanics seek networking help with federal jobs - Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post, "In the small city of Belen, N.M., Paco Perez didn't have one relative or neighbor who worked for the federal government. 'No one ever talked about it as an option,' said Perez, 30. While attending law school at the University of New Mexico, he met Martin Brennan, a former ambassador to Zambia and Uganda,who was at the school as part of the Diplomat in Residence Program. Established in 1964 at colleges that are historically black or have other large minority populations, the program was set up to end the 'bastion of white men in the State Department through recruiting,' said Terry Davidson, its coordinator. While studying for the bar exam, Perez decided to take the highly competitive Foreign Service exam. He started meeting 'religiously' with the diplomat and his successors at the school. 'They would have me for dinner and coach me. I don't think I would have made it with out them,' Perez said. He passed the test and joined the Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer in 2008."

A Day in the Life of a Foreign Service Officer – Digger Diplomat - "Digger Diplomat is a United States Foreign Service Officer and blogger. On her personal blog: Life After Jerusalem, she chronicles her unique experiences as a US Diplomat and her musings on all things foreign policy. Digger Diplomat was kind enough to answer a few of our questions and we are more than delighted to share her incredible insight. Read ahead to learn about her journey toward a career in foreign service, her travels, her tips for acing the Foreign Service Officer Test, and her advice for any one considering a career in US Diplomacy. ... What foreign service officer career track did you choose? I am a Public Diplomacy coned officer. I picked this track because my background is in journalism and anthropology and seemed to be suited to this career track. Plus, since my wife is a political officer, we knew it would be easier to serve together if we were in different cones."

Rooting her feet in her beloved Puerto Rican traditions, she helped others discover new growth strategies to complement their overall business objectives. ... She has also been recognized for her work as a Latina entrepreneurial leader in empowering women on a global level. She was appointed by the U.S. State Department to the Public Diplomacy Program in January 2013." Image from entry, with caption: Ivette Mayo, a Latina entrepreneur, motivational speaker, trainer, and owner at Yo Soy I Am.

The Best Advice I Ever Took: Pursue What You Love, or How Benedict Cumberbatch Saved My Master’s Degree - "I studied British public diplomacy and how the British have taken to using celebrities and pop culture to create a positive image for themselves."

Anti-Islam tattoos should be banned in U.S. Military - Letter to the editor, Daily Trojan: "The U.S. government is often accused of foreign policy objectives that promote a 'War on Islam,' and these tattoos do nothing more than reinforce that generalization. For a country that has invaded two Muslim nations, continues drone strikes in several more and suffers from an extreme deficit of trust with the Muslim population of the world, the United States should take more seriously the appearance standards of its service members. Anna Burns Graduate student, public diplomacy [.]"

Young Jewish entrepreneurs earn grants for social initiatives - Four young Jewish entrepreneurs received grants to encourage social entrepreneurship among young Jews. ... The recipients ... [include] Naomi Leight, assistant director for Research and Publications at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, for her work in,

Media and Communications Officer, United Kingdom Joint Delegation to NATO - "MAIN ROLE

Lead in coordinating and implementing media strategies for top-level NATO events, particularly ministerial meetings and the 2014 NATO Summit; Drive and develop communications policy for the UK in NATO, representing the UK on NATO’s Committee for Public Diplomacy, and shaping communications strategies in support of NATO business (operations, partnership cooperation, capabilities). Work to secure an improved understanding of the Alliance among key audiences; Support the work of the UK Delegation by developing and delivering its public diplomacy and strategic communications strategy, using a full range of communication tools including digital media to deliver UK NATO policy objectives."  Image from


Propaganda fails in Afghanistan, report says: A British expert says U.S. commanders are routinely conned by propaganda contractors - Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: U.S. propaganda efforts in Afghanistan have failed because of poorly designed programs by contractors who often propose expensive marketing solutions to U.S. commanders incapable of making informed choices, according to a study published by the Army's War College. Examples of failed efforts, according to the paper, include a proposal to pay $6,000 dowries to Afghan men to keep them off the battlefield — a scheme that could have cost $4 billion.

That project, ultimately rejected, fits into what the U.S. military calls Information Operations programs. The dowry program and ineffective television ad campaigns "represent merely the tip of the iceberg: over the years, huge amounts of money have been spent on IO programs that are largely anchored in advertising and marketing style communication with little concurrent investment, it would appear, in detailed understanding of audiences and environments," the report concludes. Image from

Our good war turns bad - Roger Simon, Politico: Why don’t we say “mission accomplished” and bring our troops home? True, there are things our forces can still do in Afghanistan such as counterterrorism, which is not to be confused with counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency is when you try to win the hearts and minds of the enemy. Counterterrorism is when you kill the enemy and then try to win their hearts and minds.We have achieved our goals in Afghanistan. We have won. It is time for our troops to come home. If we stay for another decade, our good war could come to a very bad end.

Biden's Pacific 'Status Quo': U.S. weakness will invite more Chinese military intimidation - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Joe Biden visited Beijing Wednesday on a trip that was originally supposed to be about trade. Instead the U.S. Vice President carried the message that Washington is concerned about China's new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea. The U.S. should tell Chinese leaders that if their new zone remains in place, U.S. air and naval forces will begin joint patrols around the Senkaku islands. Such a firm stand now would be better for peace in the long term than allowing Beijing to continue its military intimidation.

Obama's Red-Line Presidency: The next president will have to restore the tradition of durable U.S. foreign commitments - Henninger, Wall Street Journal: America's red lines can be blurred, moved or erased at whim. The U.S.'s postwar system of foreign alliances is cracking, or even collapsing. The next president will have to restore the idea of a U.S. commitment to its original, more durable meaning.

Obama's bad foreign policy: War on Terror

has not made us freer or safer - Thomas Mullen, Washington Times: Twelve years of war in the Middle East has accomplished absolutely nothing. The past decade has seen American society adopt a national security state footing that bears far too much resemblance to 1930’s Germany.  Image from

Exclusive: State Department Seizing U.S. Passports in Yemen - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: According to exclusive information obtained through a U.S. government whistleblower involved directly with U.S.-Yemeni affairs, the American Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen unlawfully seized over one hundred U.S. passports from Yemeni-Americans (some place the number at 500 passports), resulting in multiple lawsuits in Federal court.

In Tripoli’s Public Square - Khaled Mattawa, New York Times: "I thought we had accomplished something bold. Twenty minutes earlier, we had finished screening several short films against violence on a makeshift stage set up beside the Maidan Al-Jazair Mosque. But as we packed up our equipment, I could not believe what I saw: A play was being performed on the very steps of the mosque. In front of an enraptured crowd of several hundred, an actor playing an old sailor was reminiscing about the time before Muammar el-Qaddafi’s regime when police officers did their jobs and protected the people. It is a measure of their despair at the worsening security situation that the ordinary people of this city, who were removed and forlorn even during the 2011 revolution, are now gathering at a venerated public site to criticize the government in the open. ... Khaled Mattawa is a professor of English at the University of Michigan and co-founder of the Arete Foundation for Arts and Culture in Tripoli."

Public Sees U.S. Power Declining as Support for Global Engagement Slips: America’s Place in the World 2013 - Growing numbers of Americans believe that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline. And support for U.S. global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further. Views of U.S. Global Power Fall to 40-Year LowThe public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home. Yet this reticence is not an expression of across-the-board isolationism.

Even as doubts grow about the United States’ geopolitical role, most Americans say the benefits from U.S. participation in the global economy outweigh the risks. And support for closer trade and business ties with other nations stands at its highest point in more than a decade. These are among the principal findings of America’s Place in the World, a quadrennial survey of foreign policy attitudes conducted in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonpartisan membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy. Via RB on Facebook. Image from entry

Augustine's World: What Late Antiquity says about the 21st century and the Syrian crisis - Robert D. Kaplan, Authority, once so secure and conveniently apportioned across the globe, seems in the process of disintegrating into small bits, with sects and heresies -- Salafists, cybercriminals, and so on -- entering from the side doors. The United States still reigns supreme economically and militarily, with immense stores of natural resources. Nevertheless, American power is increasingly stymied by these new and unpredictable forces. Sheer might -- tanks and jet fighters, nuclear bombs and aircraft carriers -- seem increasingly like products of an ever-receding Industrial Age. Via LH on Facebook

American students trail East Asians, most Europeans in reading - Hector Tobar, While U.S. students scored

near the global average in reading, they were 36th in mathematics, performing well below the global average. See also; map from

What You Need to Know About the International Test Scores - Diane Ravitch, Common Dreams: U.S. students have never been top performers on the international tests. The creative, can-do spirit of the American people, on its character, persistence, ambition, hard work, and big dreams, cannot be measured by standardized tests like PISA.

The ubiquity of propaganda obscures the American military's true role - Jeffrey Polet, Bridge Magazine:  
Gone are the times when universities were hotbeds of anti-militarism. Instead, they have been co-opted by research dollars – the Pentagon’s 2014 budget asks for $330 million in university research initiatives, a number which doesn’t include the maintenance of university-based

research centers, which would increase the amount by over $100 million – and have turned their public events into propaganda, the players themselves made avatars of military “virtues.” Image from article, with caption: Uncle Sam Wants You: Americans are comfortable with a level of military propaganda that would be disconcerting coming from another country.

Relations with Iran: Between truth and propaganda - Abdulrahman al-Rashed, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has resorted to an old Iranian style of politics in which the media is used to exert political pressure. He voiced his complaint that his request to visit Saudi Arabia was rejected. However, the truth is the complete opposite as his request was approved and an appointment was scheduled with his Saudi counterpart; but he himself rejected moving forward with the meeting. Whether Zarif visits Saudi Arabia or not and whether he continues this negative marketing against it or not, the issues of our region, which is packed with problems and suspicion, cannot be resolved through the use of propaganda. The most important step to reform Iranian-Gulf relations requires proof of good intent.

Iranian regime’s propaganda use of Jews would make Goebbels proud - Karmel Melamed, Those of us who live in the free world cannot allow the Iranian regime to win the public relations war that it wages to portray itself as a lover of the Jews or a granter of wide freedoms and equality to non-Muslims living in Iran. We must call out the Iranian regime’s propaganda and expose the truth about its brutality not only to Jews living in Iran but toward Baha’is, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sunni Muslims, Kurds, LGBT, women, labor movement leaders, journalists and others in Iran who have been randomly imprisoned, tortured and executed by the Iranian regime’s leadership for no reason at all.

Why Israel is losing the propaganda war and what she should to do about it - Ted Belman, There are thousands of left wing NGO’s, academics and journalist who make the case against Israel in factual terms by distorting the facts and in emotional terms by weeping for the “blameless” Palestinians. Where is Israel in this debate. She is passive and silent for the most part. The European countries and, to lesser extent, the US accept the lies and propaganda of the left and repeat it as truth, because it serves their purpose. Israel must be steadfast in asserting the truth and her rights. She must do so at every opportunity.

BBC Promotes Hezbollah’s Anti-Israel Propaganda - Hadar Sela, The BBC clearly has a problem knowing how to relate to the streams of all too predictable propaganda regularly produced by regimes and terrorist organisations in the Middle East. Its current practice of uncritical repetition and amplification of baseless rumour, conspiracy theories and propaganda is clearly incompatible with its obligation to “build a global understanding of international issues” and its self-declared aspiration to “remain the standard-setter for international journalism.”

Russian news agency RIA Novosti closed down - Russia's President Vladimir Putin has abolished the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. In a surprise decree published on the Kremlin's website on Monday, Mr Putin announced it would be replaced by a news agency called Russia Today. The new agency will be headed by journalist and keen Kremlin supporter Dmitry Kiselev. The state-owned Voice of Russia radio station has also been closed. The decree was effective immediately. Sergey Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, has told journalists in Moscow that the news agency is being restructured in order to make it more economical while increasing its reach, Interfax reports. Mr Ivanov was quoted as saying that the agency, which is being dissolved and reorganised as International News Agency Russia Today, needs to make "more rational use of public money" and that it has to be more effective. "Russia pursues an independent policy and robustly defends its national interests. It's not easy to explain that to the world, but we can and must do this," he said. For many Kremlin critics in Russia, that phrase suggests this is a sinister move by President Putin, says the BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow. During Mr Putin's time as Russia's leader, RIA Novosti

has tried hard to produce balanced coverage for Russian and international audiences, our correspondent says. Although state-owned, it has reflected the views of the opposition and covered difficult topics for the Kremlin, our correspondent adds. Mr Kiselev is known for his ultra-conservative views, including recently saying that gay people should be banned from giving blood, and that their hearts should be burnt rather than used in transplants. Reporting on its own demise, RIA noted in its news report that "the move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia's news landscape, which appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector." Image from


Gary Rawnsley
December 4 via mobile
@GDRaber: Just seen "Sauna diplomacy" and "hip hop diplomacy". Can we please stop adding any noun to "diplomacy"? It makes mockery of what diplomacy is
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Gary Rawnsley John, to some this may seem like a flippant point, but I really do worry that we are losing sight of what diplomacy means. When everything becomes an act of diplomacy, what does it mean as a concept and as a practice? Likewise soft power, whereby the power side of the equation seems to have been seriously overlooked of late.
December 4 at 9:46am via mobile · Like

John Brown The same dilution of the term "public diplomacy" is occurring. It's amazing -- and somewhat troubling -- to see how it is now applied to innumerable activities that are by no means alike.
December 4 at 9:51am · Like · 1

Paul Rockower Sorry fellas, the PD juniority is gonna push back here. For starters, yes you are correct that most of these things are not diplomacy but most relate to public diplomacy. The general public doesn't know this because in general we as public diplomats have failed to educate on what we do and what the field is about. But using these various endeavors as a medium to connect people is what public diplomacy is all about. Hip hop diplomacy is a part of cultural diplomacy, just as jazz was prior. The reality is that public diplomacy is an empty shell of which we add notions and concepts to imbue it with meaning. I agree that "diplomacy" has more form. Yes, I agree sometimes the noun + diplomacy gets a lil inane, and I am very much guilty of such bastardizations, but it reflects a broader way in using different mediums and methods to connect people, and that is what PD is all about. And ultimately, I think it is a good thing that pd is more malleable and dynamic than its stodgy cousin diplomacy.
December 4 at 10:03am · Edited · Like · 1

James R Vaughan Let's verb it instead! We could Diplomacise Hip Hop. Or, then again, maybe not...
December 4 at 1:21pm via mobile · Like

John Brown Paul: Nice phrase, giving food for thought: "public diplomacy is an empty shell" ... Not to overly prolong the discussion, but of all the adjectives added to diplomacy my favorite is "pubic" ... I even wrote a piece on it some years ago:

Public Diplomacy Goes ‘Pubic’ | USC Center on Public Diplomacy | PD News – CPD Blog
The University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy is a joint acad...See More
3 minutes ago · Like · Remove Preview; image from


Megan Garder, "Congratulations, Ohio! You Are the Sweariest State in the Union: Phone-call data track the distribution of courtesy (and the lack of it) over recorded conversations. We'd thought better of you, Buckeyes," Megan Garder, Atlantic


"polls show over half of American adults don’t know which country dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima."

--Lawrence Davidson, "Why Americans Are So Ignorant -- It's Not Only Fox News, There Are Some Understandable Reasons for it: Sure propaganda, government secrecy and Fox News have a lot to do with it. But there are broader societal pressures as well," Consortium News; via BB on Facebook


Image from, with caption: U.S. government personnel evacuate a building through a smoky scenario September 9, 2013, at the Diplomatic Security (DS) Interim Training Facility in Summit Point, West Virginia. All government personnel serving at U.S. embassies or consulates in high-threat regions of the world must undergo DS’s Foreign Affairs Counter Threat training before their deployment. (U.S. Department of State photo)


"The Russian and the Bulgarian are walking down the street and find a 25-ruble bill. The Russian, all excited, says, 'Let's share it as brothers would!' The Bulgarian replies, 'No, thanks. I'd rather share it equally.'"

--Soviet era joke

"protiv kogo viy druzhite [against whom are you waving friendship?]

--Russian play of words; cited in James Sheer, Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion: Russia's Influence Abroad (2013), p .9

--49 Russian Diplomats/Spouses Charged With Picking Uncle Sam’s Pocket in Medicaid Scam - DiploPundit

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