Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review: "It's junk," decrees Hotmail computer-tsars

For persons interested in how hotmail "selects" what to consider "junk mail," allow me to note that the most recent edition of my harmless "Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review" (PDBR, sent to email subscribers via buzzfeed) was relegated (today, March 29 -- not for the first time) to being "junk" by the hotmail computers-power-that-be which, evidently, rule (censor?) the so-called "internet freedom" space. For my sins, or so it increasingly appears, I have a hotmail account dating back to a decade.

Of course, efforts to reach "hotmail" staff (are there any real persons "behind" the computers?) have been fruitless. In our era of "endless connectivity," reaching those, if they are human, who peddle this mirage of universal groovy communications is quite impossible, perhaps because, hidden (if they exist at all), as they may be somewhere in a anonymous cloud, out of, conceivably, fear of being exposed of accusations of censorship -- or out of, simply, fears of being "exposed."

So, if you are kind enough to be a hotmail email subscriber to the near-daily PDPBR, and are still interested in receiving it by email on a regular basis, may I suggest that you check your "junk mail" after 5:15 pm.

Real good junk, I assure you :). No needle needed to enjoy it free of charge!

Best wishes, John

P.S. Meanwhile, again, I keep getting, in my "serious" hotmail account, emails from unknown persons suggesting that I've inherited millions, must help the undefined destitute, etc.

P. P.S. Meanwhile again, I should note that, on my Gmail account, the PDPR appears regularly. Not that that I have any parti pris about these two cyberspace companies.

Image from

March 28-29

"They flow disjunctively: directed, shaped and sometimes inhibited by what we might call mediating structures of interlocution."

--The "so-called global cultural flows," according American University professor Robert Albro, Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Chicago and author of Rooster at Midnight: Indigenous Signs and Stigma in Local Bolivian Politics (2010);  image from

"Watch American University students fail to name single U.S. senator: 'I'm not big into the whole America thing,' one student joked [Video]"

--Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News


U.S.-China Relations, Sports and Cultural Diplomacy Panel: Foreign policy scholars, government officials, and other public figures talked about the state of U.S.-China relations, including issues such as diplomatic and cultural ties and the effectiveness of public diplomacy and soft power -


[LISTEN] The BBG’s Role in U.S. Public Diplomacy - "Michael Ardaiolo and Dr. Guy Golan discuss the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ role in U.S. public diplomacy with Lynne Weil.  Lynne Weil is the director of communications and external affairs for the BBG."


First Monday Forum to Discuss Young African Leaders Program - "The next next Public Diplomacy Council/USC First Monday lunch forum takes place on Monday, 7 April at 12:00 pm, where Joyce Warner will tell about the U.S. Young African Leaders Initiative.

Warner is Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of IREX, an international not-for-profit organization working with local individuals and institutions to build key elements of a modern society. ... The program is free, but advance registration is essential. Please RSVP to FirstMondayForum [dot] RSVP [at] gmail [dot] com." Warner image from entry


Arts of Revolution - "The Arts of Revolution in the Middle East events at Duke explore the relationships between politics and aesthetics, with a particular focus on the democratic potential of popular forms of expression." Image: heading of website


State Department #YALICHAT with Young African Leaders Goes Viral - IVN [March 27], "Yesterday, using hashtag #YALICHAT, more than 12,000 people joined Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel (@Stengel) for the first in a series of live Twitter chats on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and Young African Leaders Network (YALN), briefly out-trending the ever popular hashtag #Beliebers worldwide.

YALI is President Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and innovators. YALN aims to connect this next generation with resources from the U.S. Government and to one another to build brighter futures for their communities and countries. Citing his many years working with Nelson Mandela, Under Secretary Stengel expressed his excitement at helping to grow the next generation of leaders. Evan Ryan (@ECA_AS), Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and Macon Phillips (@Macon44), Coordinator of International Information Programs (IIP), also joined Under Secretary Stengel to discuss topics ranging from governance to leadership for Africa’s brightest young leaders. In the last week, this #YALICHAT produced more than 39,000 tweets and counting. The YALN Twitter handle, @YALNetwork, also grew by more than 7,400 followers overnight. Top participating countries included Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, and Uganda." Image from

Forever On The Backburner: The Ukraine Crisis Usurps The Asia Pivot - Sarah Batiuk, "No one can make the argument that Asia is not important to the United States. The Obama Administration has not been shy about voicing its commitment to the pivot/re-balance, with National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice commenting how the Asia-Pacific remains 'a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy ' and that 'no matter how many hotspots emerge elsewhere, we will continue to deepen our enduring commitment to this critical region' during her remarks at Georgetown University last November.

Now the world is currently in the grip of such a hotspot, as the uncertainty of what will transpire between Russia and Ukraine continues to grow. The Obama Administration has understandably been at the forefront, including imposing sanctions against Russia. But this does not excuse forgetting about one’s own policies, especially one like the pivot/re-balance which is being watched closely by both allies and skeptics the world over. Yet this is exactly what happened.  ... The government shutdown last year, which prevented President Obama from visiting Asia during both the APEC and East Asia Summits, was the most recent red flag for the validity of the pivot/re-balance. Many countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, were concerned that the United States would not be able to fulfill its commitments to the region if it could not control its own domestic issues. Of even greater concern is how U.S. allies such as Japan saw this negative symbolism. At the East-West Center on March 5, Dr. Nobuhiro Aizawa, a researcher from Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), stated that the uptick of questioning the closeness of Japan towards the United States policy-wise had gained steam from Obama’s inability to attend the summits last October. According to him 'the word pivot is there but symbolically speaking Obama not showing up to the meetings was a negative image, when you talk about public diplomacy this matters very much.' " Uncaptioned image from entry

Cultural Diplomacy of and by the Book - Robert Albro, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[O]ur cultural diplomacy frameworks are too narrow and too broad. With few exceptions, discussions of soft power lack context or grounding in any specific public or set of social relations. We assume the mysterious workings of cultural globalization to work in our favor. People-to-people exchange is restricted to particular partners, events, or programs, instead of broader considerations of the circulation of culture through publics. And regardless of scale, we assume culture to be an instrument to persuade others rather than a dialogic beachhead. Meanwhile, people in the U.S. are most likely unaware that they have been largely shut out from, in this case, a global print-based conversation. But the peculiarities of the U.S. publishing industry remind us that so-called global cultural flows do not simply circulate. They flow disjunctively: directed, shaped and sometimes inhibited by what we might call mediating structures of interlocution, composed of combinations of: industry practice, investment, legal frameworks, collaborative networks, business models, consumer preferences, and value chains, which, taken together, make up particular corners of the global creative economy."

Disastrous BBG Budget - BBG Watcher: Contains article by Gary Thomas "Voice of America News, 1942-2015,” which states: "As written, the 2015 BBG budget proposal is, for all intents and purposes, the death notice for substantive news coverage at the Voice of America. Should it be enacted, people around the world would only get the most simplistic of news reports, especially in English, the lingua franca of the host broadcaster – and not necessarily in a timely manner.

Most disturbing of all, news would be blurred into national security policy goals. ... Wade through the thicket of deliberately dense bureaucratese, and that purpose is abundantly clear: to transform VOA – and other entities – into a foreign policy tool, placing VOA down a path away from news and towards propaganda. ... In other words, public diplomacy will trump journalism." Image from

US Message to Sri Lanka through Geneva: Tamil Issue -- Tamil Issue -- Tamil Issue - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "I have been with Asian Tribune about some sensitive working atmosphere within the portals of the American Embassy in Colombo and the dialogue and working relationship I had with senior foreign service officers (FSO) in Colombo and Washington, this writer is not prepared to break the oath of office taken during the employment with the U.S. Federal Government. Throughout my career, first ten years (1970 thru 1980) in public affairs and the following fifteen years in public diplomacy, I was associated with many internal discourses of critical and not so critical socio-political-economic developments in Sri Lanka while maintaining very close rapport with some principal players in this South Asian nation and routine working relationship with others for me to broadly understand the nuances of Sri Lanka's national issues and how they were related to overall American foreign policy and reaction to those in within the Colombo diplomatic mission and Washington. I was a political specialist with little above mid-level classification clearance but was routinely exposed to the sensitive and classified mind-set of the senior American diplomats because they couldn't conceal their thinking if they wanted me to produce reports and analyses for Washington's understanding. It is with this understanding that I stated at the outset that the United States never wanted Sri Lanka divided which means never wanted the Tamil Tigers to establish a separate state for minority Tamils."

'Russia coming back to Bangladesh' - Nurul Islam Hasib, "Russia is stepping up public diplomacy to make a 'comeback' in Bangladesh as it is doing in other South Asian countries. Russian ambassador in Dhaka Nikolaev Alexander said on Friday the relations between the two countries were experiencing 'a renaissance now'. ... The ambassador's effusive remark was made in the presence of the Deputy Head of Russian Federal Agency for Cooperation with Foreign Countries (Rossotrudnichestvo), Alexander Chesnokov, currently in Dhaka. Chesnokov is here on a visit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in the city. The ambassador told journalists that Russian culture and its people's friendliness were his country's 'power'. 'And it (culture) has enormous importance.' ... The Cultural Centre was set up in 1974, encouraging many Bangladeshis, students in particular, to visit the Soviet Union.

Russian books and cinema became popular among Bangladeshi readers and cine goers. ... In a period of Russia's own transition, the Culture Centre had stymied owing to a lack of diversity and modernisation. 'We never stopped, but we want to engage more actively,' Deputy Head Chesnokov said. 'This centre acts a bridge between Russia and a foreign country.' There are more than 80 such centres across the world and at least another 20 will be added soon. Chesnokov said they would modernise the Dhaka centre, connecting its library with Moscow’s national library and national museum, enabling Bangladesh’s new generation learn a great deal about Russia from Dhaka. 'It’ll also foster their interest in visiting Russia,' he said. ... Last year, 47 Bangladeshi students had enrolled in different Russian universities. This year the number was expected to cross 60, he said. Young professionals from various fields, aged between 20 and 35 years, would also be invited. ... The ambassador said he noted that Bangladesh media without keeping its journalists in overseas countries were covering stories following foreign media, mostly British and American. Russian embassy can be a source of news in Dhaka, he said." Image from

Activities of Armenian community highly valued in Estonia and Lithuania - "Laine Randyarv, Vice-Speaker of the Riigikogu (the highest representative and legislative body of the Republic of Estonia - Ed.) on Wednesday held a meeting with journalists from Armenia and the Armenian community of Estonia and expressed her appreciation to the local Armenians for the high activity in the areas of social and cultural life . ... [A]bout 2,000 Armenians live in Estonia. There are 11 national-cultural societies there, which are aimed at preserving the Armenian language, culture and traditions. ... At the meeting the results of the Estonian-Armenian cultural event, 'See you in Tallinn', held last June in Tallinn, were discussed. The event was attended by over a hundred Estonia cultural activists, journalists and students from Armenia. There were concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions of contemporary art, and other cultural events. The action was a return visit - in those days about 200 artists, entrepreneurs and journalists from Estonia had visited Armenia. Laine Randyarv, who also was directly involved in carrying out the action and met the Armenians that arrived in the Riigikogu, called the Armenian cultural days held in Estonia succeeded: 'Public diplomacy for the two small countries is a unique opportunity to establish friendly relations. The 'See you in Tallinn' event gave the residents of Estonia an opportunity to get acquainted with Armenian rich culture and history, as well as made it possible to have direct interpersonal communication.'"

Belgian lawmakers visit Judea and Samaria - "A delegation of Belgian parliamentarians visited Judea and Samaria on Thursday as guests of the Shomron Regional Council. The visit was coordinated by the council’s foreign relations committee. During the visit, delegation head Senator Anke Vandermeersch noted that she was 'surprised to see how different the reality here is compared to what we are shown by the European media,' Israel Hayom reported.

Vandermeersch, a 1992 Miss Universe finalist, agreed to head pro-Israel public diplomacy efforts in Belgium and in the European Parliament, in an effort to counter anti-Israel boycott campaigns." Image from entry, with caption: Belgian legislator Senator Anke Vandermeersch, pictured, noted on a trip to Judea and Samaria that she was “surprised to see how different the reality here is compared to what we are shown by the European media.”

Riveting Flores Moroccan musicians Residents with Sasando [Google "translation" from the Indonesian] - "Musicians Indonesia from Flores, Ivan Nestorman and the group appeared in a series of events the promotion of culture and Tourism of Indonesia is scheduled by the Embassy in Rabat in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia in a number of places in Morocco.

appearance at the Hotel Sofitel Rabat on Delivery International Public Events Diplomacy Diplomatic Foundation Award by Morocco, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 which then became the top event Nestorman Ivan appearance with the group in Morocco. Image from entry, with caption: Ivan Nestorman and the group appeared in a series of promotional events Indonesian culture and tourism in Morocco.

The Daily: Taiwan’s Soft Power Stumble - Michael Ardaiolo,

Conflict and Cuisine - samuelchapplesokol: Describes recent gastrodiplomacy projects/publications.

Public Culture on Display - Maria F Curtis,
"What began as an outgrowth of public diplomacy’s cultural forms, the Asia Society remains in dialogue with discourses of cultural diplomacy through arts education but has expanded its mission hoping not only to inform and educate, but to leave its visitors with an experience that challenges our often heavily digitized lives, what they have called the

'frisson'. Listed as number six in Asia Society’s strategic goals, the frisson prioritizes face-to-face interaction with others at the museum site over all else. Steven Conn’s questioning of 'Where is the East?' and 'Do Museums Still Need Objects?' seem to converge easily here at this junction of art and politics." Image from

Visitors from Ukraine discuss unrest in trip to CSU campus: Sister Cities International organized trip [includes video] - Mallory Huff, "A group of Ukrainians visiting the United States said they feel frustrated with the unrest at home. The delegates spent Monday afternoon at California State University, Stanislaus. They are from the city of Khmelnitskiy, which is one of Modesto's seven sister cities. Sister Cities International organized the trip. The university took the opportunity to host a conversation about the events unfolding in the region."

Pianist Malek Jandali on the Soft Power of Music and the Syrian Revolution - “'The Voice of the Free Syrian Children' concert is part of Jandali’s world tour and the March 27 opening event of this year’s Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies Annual Conference — Arts of Revolution — that will also feature artists from Baghdad, Libya, Turkey, Qatar, and Bahrain.

Jandali will speak about the soft power of music and art in the Syrian revolution as part of a conference panel on Friday morning. Image from entry, with caption: Malek Jandali’s very last concert he gave in Homs; before the revolution started. At the beautiful and historic St. Elian Church, which has since been completely destroyed by the Assad regime’s bombardment of Homs.

Conference on South Korea’s Rise: Politics, Economics, and Humanities - "Conference on South Korea’s Rise: Politics, Economics, and Humanities is going to be held on May 1-2, 2014 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The conference focuses on how South Korea’s economic development has affected its politics, economics, society, and foreign relations. ... 10:45- 12:15 pm Panel 2 – North Korea ... Implications on Korea’s public diplomacy [ - ] Jangsup Choi (Texas and M-Commerce) and Dennis Patterson (Texas Tech)"

ISA 2014-Advancing the Learning Environment in the Digital Age - curiouscat4: "Four of the five ALPS [Active Learning in Political Science] editors are together again, presenting on this ISA Innovative Panel on various aspects of simulations, games, films, and the use of digital technology. ... [t]he best part was at the end, when a member of the audience called for some public diplomacy on behalf of pedagogy, to create a culture where learning about teaching is valued (and better attended!)"

Ask, write, edit: Princeton students discover journalistic paths - Jamie Saxon, "The Ferris McGraw Robbins Professors in Journalism have been teaching seminars at the University since 1964. The professors often bring colleagues to visit. .... Guests in Richburg's [Keith Richburg a former foreign correspondent with The Washington Post] seminar have included Bay Fang, former U.S. News and World Report correspondent in Beijing, Baghdad and Kabul, and former deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy."

Declared the provisional program of the festival OPEN 2014 - "OPEN Festival will be held in Minsk on 19-21 June for the third time. Work Festival will be held at three sites: Competition OPEN your world, Congress OPEN your mind and guest program OPEN

your heart. ... The Congress OPEN your mind the following experts: ... Andrei Stas (Russia), Managing Partner of Stas Marketing. Founder and leader of the group Stas Marketing (until 2005 - a2z marketing) since 1999. Andrew is an expert Institute of Place Branding and Public Diplomacy and Director of LEU 'Institute of Territorial marketing and branding.'" Image from entry


State Dept. Warns Against Ukraine Travel, Promotes Ukraine Travel: Mixed messages on danger cause confusion - Adam Kredo, The State Department issued a Ukraine travel warning on March 21 warning “U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine

and to defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula and eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Lugansk due to the presence of Russian military forces in the Crimean Peninsula, and in Russia near the Ukrainian border.” Three days after that warning was issued the State Department’s official Twitter feed disseminated an official video promoting travel to Ukraine and arguing that all is safe for tourists. Image from

Russia sends troops, Obama administration sends a selfie - Carl Campanile, New York Post, posted at: Russian leader Vladmir Putin sent in troops and tanks to invade neighboring Ukraine and the Obama administration is coming to the rescue with . . . selfies! State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki

was mocked Thursday after posting a photo of herself on Twitter holding a sign that read #United­For­Ukraine @State­Dept­Spox.” Psaki, who has worked closely with President Obama since his 2008 campaign and is the chief communications adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, is smiling and giving a thumbs-up in the photo. Image from entry, with caption: THUMB-BUDDY LOVES YOU: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicates her support for Ukraine in a Twitter post Thursday (right) — less than a week after Russian forces stormed an air base in Crimea that refused to surrender after the territory's annexation by Russia (left).

Obama’s Speech on Ukraine: Propaganda and Lies - Patrick Martin, The speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Brussels Wednesday was a call to arms for a US-NATO confrontation against Russia.

With a series of lies and evasions, Obama presented a world turned upside down in which the US and European imperialists, who backed the coup in Ukraine spearheaded by fascistic forces, are the defenders of democracy and peace. Image from entry

1984 in 2014: A new propaganda war underpins the Kremlin’s clash with the West - The Kremlin is celebrating the annexation of Crimea as though Russia had won the second world war (again) rather than grabbing a piece of land from a smaller and weaker neighbour. The public seems intoxicated by victory in a war that was begun, conducted and won largely through propaganda. The propaganda machine is fuelled by a “cocktail of chauvinism, patriotism and imperialism”, says one journalist. It plays on deep feelings among the Russian public: post-imperial nostalgia for the Soviet Union, an inferiority complex towards the West, and a longing for self-justification. Yet patriotic hysteria and jingoism may have reached such levels that any de-escalation by Mr Putin would seem like a defeat. The danger is that he starts to believe his own propaganda and pursues its logic towards renewed confrontation.

Non-Linear War - Peter Pomerantsev, London Review of Books: Russian television is full of hysteria about enemies of the state, fascists taking over Ukraine in a rerun of the Second World War, the great conflict with the godless gay West.

Putin’s news network - Robert Fulford, When Vladimir Putin started his own cable news and Internet service, he said he wanted to break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on global information. The Russia Today network, now named RT, was to be "absolutely independent.” He didn’t want it automatically committed to his policies. He was kidding, of course, and no doubt everyone working for the network knew it. RT is a propaganda bureau, funded by the federal government — and that’s what makes it interesting and often enlightening.

With Russia dominating the news, it’s more than worth sampling. RT feels much like a reverse image of Fox News. The hosts and reporters are often well-coiffed, leggy American women with firmly held opinions and an angry tone. Image from entry, with caption: RT, a Russian state-funded television channel, is like an angry, anti-American mirror of Fox News.

Matviyenko: No Russian TV channels promote anti-Ukrainian propaganda - [subscription]: Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has condemned the decision by Ukrainian authorities to ban broadcasts of Russian television channels.

These Are Russia's Alleged Propaganda Instructions On Crimea - Jeremy Bender,
A list of propaganda stories prepared for Russian news stations by the Kremlin have apparently been leaked by a Russian internet group called 'Anonymous International,' Global Voices reports.

The list of prepared topics instructs television journalists to focus on praising the annexation and development of Crimea, while simultaneously portraying the Ukrainian revolution as being run by fascists and extremely damaging to Ukraine as a whole. Uncaptioned image from entry

Are Ukraine’s Pro-Maidan Jews Courting Another Holocaust? According to one Russian TV station, they are - Halya Coynash, Russia may have the military and economic clout to annex another country’s territory, but its propaganda efforts have been foundering spectacularly of late. Prominent Jewish organizations and public figures have publicly condemned Russian lies; the latest fake demonstrates primitive disinformation; and an attempt on 23 March to present Jewish and Russian organizations supporting Maidan as bringing on “a second Holocaust,” as they allegedly did Shoah, could backfire. None of this will matter for those in Russia and Crimea fed only such lies, but the Western media could well take note – and adequate measures for filtering murky information channels. The easiest thing to do when Jewish organizations and religious and public figures deny Russian claims that rampant anti-Semitic hordes have seized power in Ukraine is to pull out other Jews willing to wax hysterical about the anti-Semitic “threat.”

Putin's New War on “Traitors” - Joshua Yaffa, New Yorker: As the space for independent journalism in Russia shrinks, the propaganda apparatus is working at feverish speed. A new Web site called—the word means “traitor”—has recently launched, featuring a list of public figures that the site’s anonymous creators deem to have betrayed Russia, whether by criticizing the annexation of Crimea or by supporting Western sanctions.

North Korea, Syria, Cuba Back Russia's Crimea Incursion at UN - Alexander Smith, Russia has accused the West of using "the Cold War-era propaganda machine" to whip up support for a United Nations resolution condemning the Moscow-backed referendum in Crimea. Just 11 of the U.N. General Assembly's 193 members supported Russia by voting "no" to the non-binding resolution on Thursday. These included an assortment of authoritarian regimes and human rights abusers such as North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Cuba.

Who Killed One of the Most Notorious Right Sector Leaders in Ukraine? - Oleg Shynkarenko, Daily Beast: Brutal, defiant “Bilyi” was a dream come true for Kremlin propagandists, a nightmare for Ukrainian moderates. Now, just as he predicted on YouTube, he’s dead.

The Muzychko killing is most likely going to go down as one of those enigmatic deaths where many people have potential motives for murder, and each will construct a narrative about why someone else did it. The Right Sector gets rid of a notorious member with brutal behavior. Ukrainian police, meanwhile, can show that they control the situation in the country and no one can threaten their legal authority. The Kremlin loses a useful propaganda tool, but it also eliminates a thug with a lot of Russian blood on his hands. Image from entry

The Russian Open Games: Thwarted at Every Turn by the Powers That Be, but a Success Nonetheless! - Greg Louganis, Huffington Post: In the vein of the late Dr. Tom Waddell, who founded the Gay Olympics (now the Gay Games) in San Francisco in 1984, Konstantin Yablotskiy and Elvina Yuvakaeva, co-presidents of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, organized the recent Russian Open Games "with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles, physical activity and sports among the LGBT community and its supporters." Sochi was just Putin's propaganda, while the Russian Open Games represented real Russia!

World Poetry Day: “Childhood Lost” by Propaganda - Hilary Hilpert, In honor of World Poetry Day today, we’re

featuring our partner, spoken-word poet Propaganda, with a video of his poem “Childhood Lost.” “Childhood is worth saving, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Watch this powerful video, and learn more about Childhood Lost. Uncaptioned image from entry

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27

“Putin apparently doesn’t use the Internet because he is afraid of being tracked by foreign governments and 'cause any time he needs to know something, he can just ask Edward Snowden.”

--Talk show host Jimmy Fallon, cited in Bulletin Intelligence, LLC; image from


The Paradox of US Public Diplomacy: Its Rise and "Demise" -- A Special Report for the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (February 2014) - Bruce Gregory, "Report Summary [:] U.S. public diplomacy faces a paradox. As diplomacy's public dimension increasingly dominates study and practice, public diplomacy has less value as a term and conceptual subset of diplomacy. It marginalizes what is now mainstream.

This report examine [sic] transformational changes in diplomacy's 21st century context: permeable borders and power diffusion, new diplomatic actors and issues, digital technologies and social media, and whole of government diplomacy. It critically assesses implications for diplomatic roles and risks, foreign ministries and diplomatic missions, and strategic planning. In an attempt to bridge scholarship and practice, the report explores operational and architectural consequences for diplomacy in a world that is more transparent, informal, and complex." Image: heading of GWU Institute of Public Diplomacy blog


Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 - "On March 13, 2014 Neue Galerie New York will open the exhibition 'Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937.'

This will be the first major U.S. museum exhibition devoted to the infamous display of modern art by the Nazis since the 1991 presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art." Image from entry. See also.


U.S. Hosts Summit for Young Middle East, African Leaders - "The United States Department of State, in partnership with the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), is hosting a 22-day Active Citizen Summit 2.0 for 18 young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa. This program will include young economic and social entrepreneurs and civil society leaders who will spend 16 days in Chicago, Illinois and 6 days in Washington, DC from March 26 to April 16, 2014. The Summit officially kicks off on March 27 in Chicago with remarks from Near Eastern Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Richard Schmierer; Secretary Kerry’s Special Adviser on Global Youth Issues, Zeenat Rahman; and a high level representative from the Chicago Mayor’s Office."

This is Information Warfare - To Inform is to Influence: IO, SC, PD, what's in a name?: "Both the Soviet Union and the US produced massive amounts of propaganda to support their point of view. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and when I worked in China and Russia only a few years ago, I realized my concept of both countries had been severely skewed by this information. Fast forward to today and I deal with VOA, RFE/RL, RFA and other international news outlets. I can honestly say, in my expert opinion, that the news they broadcast is as close to the truth as I have ever seen and is definitely not propaganda. One of the first targets of pro-Russian commenters was to label VOA and others as propaganda purveyors and as CIA fronts. This is interesting because that is definitely not the case."

China media: Xi's France visit - "According to the Beijing Youth Daily, "Mr Xi will visit the office of Unesco, the UN's cultural arm, in Paris and deliver a speech. Ma Zhengang, vice-president of China Public Diplomacy Association, tells the daily that the new leadership of China places emphasis on ‘cultural diplomacy’ and

Mr Xi's visit to the Unesco office will help the world better its understanding of China's culture and its soft power." Image from entry, with caption: President Xi Jinping (left) held talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Wednesday

华盛顿大学开设“美食外交”课程促进文化交流 [no translation available] - Mention of public diplomacy. Image of heading from entry

Don't be the 'ugly Israeli' - Lior Varona, We are all familiar with the pejorative term "ugly Israeli," which refers to those who behave according to negative stereotypes of individuals and groups in Israeli society. Over time, the phrase began being tossed around in the public dialogue and began to encompass many negative attributes. And rightfully so -- no sane person can understand what prompts an Israeli tourist to draw our national flag on a memorial to Japanese war casualties, to hold parties at an archeological site, or pray loudly with other Israelis in the lobby of an Austrian hotel. Imagine what would happen if a group of Muslim tourists decided to pray, according to Islamic tradition, in the lobby of an Israeli hotel. These actions are covered in depth by the media, and the involvement of Israelis is felt and makes an impression. The negative international opinion of Israeli tourists has ramifications on the political sphere: aggression in a hotel becomes associated in their eyes with aggression in diplomatic conduct. As far as Europeans are concerned, it's the same thing. ... Israel has 100 official foreign offices. Over 4 million citizens travel abroad each year. These citizens, if they are aware of the consequences of their behavior, can be a great help to Israeli public diplomacy and to the nation's image. Goodwill Ambassadors was established by Israelis who are particularly concerned about this: businesspeople, student leaders, educators, artists, media professionals, and many others who believe that it is time for Israelis abroad to revolutionize their behavior for the good of our quality of life and our future. ... Lior Varona founded the nonprofit group Goodwill Ambassadors with Yuval Limon."

The Hermit Kingdom - Steve Corrigan, "Not much is known about the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea. One of the scholars trying to change that is Andrei Lankov, a native Russian who was an exchange student in North Korea in the 1980′s, speaks the language, and has stayed in contact with many ex-patriots as well as officials within in the country throughout his RNKcareer.

His third book on the subject, the recently published The Real North Korea, is a welcome addition to his previous work. Often portrayed in the media as a nation of madmen with little hold on the reality of public diplomacy, Lankov sees the Korean leadership as using brinkmanship and nuclear blackmail as the only way to sustain itself. The logic in its thinking is that it’s the only way left for it to get what it wants, that is, the aid that keeps it in power since the collapse of the Soviet Union." Image from

Public Diplomacy Magazine is Now Accepting Letters to the Editor - What did you think of Public Diplomacy Magazine’s latest issue, 'Gastrodiplomacy'?

Public Diplomacy Magazine invites you participate in the conversation by submitting a letter to the Editor for publication in the Summer 2014 issue, 'The Power of Non-State Actors.' Send your questions and comments to Shannon Haugh at" Image from entry


Obama: Russia can't 'run roughshod' over neighbors - President Barack Obama says Russia must not be allowed to "run roughshod" over its neighbors as it has done in Ukraine. Obama says no amount of propaganda and falsehoods coming out of the Russian government can make right something the world knows is wrong. Obama commented during a speech while he is in Brussels for meetings on the situation between Russia and Ukraine.

Obama’s Anemic Speech in Europe - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Unless Western societies find a way to shake their moroseness, level the playing field and rediscover, as Obama put it, the “simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal,” they are going to have a very hard time winning “the contest of ideas.” Below image from

Obama’s speech on Ukraine: Propaganda and lies - Patrick Martin, World Socialist Website: The speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Brussels Wednesday was a call to arms for a US-NATO confrontation against Russia. With a series of lies and evasions, Obama presented a world turned upside down in which the US and European imperialists, who backed the coup in Ukraine spearheaded by fascistic forces, are the defenders of democracy and peace.

US Propaganda and Russia - The propaganda coming out of the US mass media is ridiculous.

Recent news stories appearing on all major US news sites continually speak of "Putin's global territorial ambitions." So, suddenly, Putin is the new "Hitler" is he? Image from entry

Deafening propaganda and the next war - "I do believe that the Powers That Be (PTB) are starting to move on from their Russia bashing.

They´ve now firmly established that Putin is the reincarnation of Hitler, that Russia 'invaded' Crimea, and that the, in part, neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine is in fact democratic and not at all a coup government supported with billions via U.S. in order to 'make the correct decisions' to join EU and NATO." Image from entry

Can NATO restrain Russia? - George F. Will, Washington Post: On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland on the pretext of responding to a Polish provocation. Ten days before, Hitler had told senior military officers, “I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war, whether it be plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, never mind whether we told the truth or not.” On the night of Aug. 31, a German prisoner was dressed in a Polish uniform, killed and displayed as a casualty of a Polish attack on a German radio station. Putin, whose lamented Soviet Union was then Hitler’s ally, knows Hitler’s tactics.

Ukraine, Kremlin propaganda and the Cold War trap - Ammon Cheskin, "Facebook can be a confusing place. For the follower of Ukrainian and Russian politics the messages could not be more different. At the same time that “Euromaidan PR” is posting pictures of “Putler” and accusing Russia of being a sick, backwards imperial bully, “Voice of Russia” is relaying to the world how Ukraine is overrun by fascists, bankrolled by the US and the EU, and at the point of political and economic ruin. I used to be of the opinion that propaganda was more sophisticated in 2014 than in 1944. The current media war appears to tell a different story.

To get a sense of the levels of absurdity the propaganda has reached, one need look no further than the Voice of Russia, a Kremlin-sponsored, international media outlet that claims to have 109m listeners worldwide. International it might be, but objective it certainly is not. Voice of Russie is an integral part of Moscow’s concerted campaign to increase its 'soft power' abroad. Linked with other international media, cultural foundations, and business organisations, Voice of Russia aims to promote a more positive image of Russia to the world, and to move beyond Cold War stereotypes." Image from entry, with caption: On message: a pro-Russian newspaper in Simferopol, Crimea

Duma to consider ban on ‘pro-Nazi’ computer games - RT: A leftist Russian MP has submitted a bill introducing fines for the distribution of computer games that either allow playing as Nazis or require controversial action by those playing as Russians. Oleg Mikheyev of the Fair Russia parliamentary party told the Interfax news agency he wanted to punish those who, in his opinion, spread false information and diminish the achievements of the dead defenders of the Fatherland, and those who undermine the authority of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and their military forces. The press release distributed by Fair Russia especially mentioned three games – “Soldiers: Heroes of WWII” that allows the players to choose the Nazi side,“Company of Heroes” where Soviet characters have to commit war crimes against civilians and the “Maidan” online strategy based on the recent violent riots in Kiev, Ukraine.

Mikheyev said the Ukrainian-made game “Soldiers: Heroes of WWII” was the only game of its type which could be played for the Third Reich. He emphasized that this option was not available in US-made computer games and added that the use of electronic games for propaganda seemed a part of a larger plan. “The Neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine and the events that followed it demonstrate the urgent need for tougher punishment for crimes connected with indirect propaganda and rehabilitation of Nazism. Such propaganda can be done through innocent-looking things such as computer games but its final objective can be the discrediting of Russia’s history and current status, and forming a negative image of our country both for foreigners and for our compatriots,” the politician said in a press interview. Image from entry, with caption: Screenshot from 'Company of Heroes 2'

Iran: Pentagon’s and New York Times’ “Scary Iranian PR Ship” Turns Out to Be Movie Prop - Scott Lucas, The New York Times

converted a movie ship into a menace. Image from entry

Israel’s “Hollywood propaganda” about Gaza-bound missile ship unravels - Ali Abunimah, Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in what Haaretz columnist Amir Oren condemned as a display of “Hollywood-style propaganda.” The media stunt was to advertise what Israel claimed was a shipment of missiles en route from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

At the time, many people pointed out that it was hard to understand how large missiles could be smuggled into Gaza, given Israel’s siege by land sea and air, supported by Egypt. Iran and the Palestinian political and military organization Hamas claimed Israel was lying. While Oren didn’t question the veracity of Israel’s claim, he did point out its propaganda value. A Reuters report says that US analysts believe that mortars aboard the ship may have been bound for Gaza, while other weapons, including large amounts of ammunition, were likely bound for destinations in Africa. Image from entry

President Obama’s foreign policy paradox - Robert Kagan, Washington Post: For many decades Americans thought of their nation as special. They were the self-proclaimed “leader of the free world,” the “indispensable nation,” the No. 1 superpower. It was a source of pride. Now, pundits and prognosticators are telling them that those days are over, that it is time for the United States to seek more modest goals commensurate with its declining power. And they have a president committed to this task. He has shown little nostalgia for the days of U.S. leadership and at times seems to conceive it as his job to deal with the “reality” of decline.


"But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war 

and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.

--President Barack Obama; image from; see also


--Cleverly Placed Miniature Cement Sculptures by: Isaac Cordal. Via DP on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26

"The king, he soaked his arrows true
in poison, and beyond the plains
dispatched those messengers and slew
his neighbors in their own domains."

--From a poem by Aleksandr Pushkin recited in Russian by the U.S. Embassy Baghdad Public Affairs Officer, taking part in celebrations of international poetry during the visit to Iraq of poets from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop; Pushkin image from


Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev - Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News: "If the US State Department's Victoria Nuland had not said 'Fuck the EU,' few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington's man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style 'destabilization campaign' that brought down Ukraine's monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych. ... Arriving in the Ukrainian capital on August 3, Pyatt almost immediately authorized a grant for an online television outlet called Hromadske.TV, which would prove essential to building the Euromaidan street demonstrations against Yanukovych. The grant was only $43,737, with an additional $4,796 by November 13. Just enough to buy the modest equipment the project needed. Many of Hromadske's journalists had worked in the past with American benefactors. Editor-in-chief Roman Skrypin was a frequent contributor to Washington's Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and the US-funded Ukrayinska Pravda. In 2004, he had helped create Channel 5 television, which played a major role in the Orange Revolution that the US and its European allies masterminded in 2004. ... For better or for worse, popular uprisings have changed history long before radio, television, or the Internet. The new technologies only speed up the game. Pyatt and his team understood that and masterfully turned soft power and the exercise of free speech, press, and assembly into a televised revolution on demand, complete with an instant overdub in English. ...  Preparing the uprising started long before Pyatt arrived in country, and much of it revolved around a talented and multi-lingual Ukrainian named Oleh Rybachuk, who had played several key roles in the Orange Revolution of 2004. ... Yanukovych  [won] the presidency in the 2010 election. Western monitors generally found the election ‘free and fair,’ but no matter.

The Americans had already sowed the seeds either to win Yanukovych over or to throw him over, whichever way Washington and its allies decided to go. As early as October 2008, USAID funded one of its many private contractors – a non-profit called Pact Inc. – to run the ‘Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms’ (UNITER). Active in Africa and Central Asia, Pact had worked in Ukraine since 2005 in campaigns against HIV/AIDS. Its new five-year project traded in bureaucratic buzzwords like civil society, democracy, and good governance, which on the public record State and USAID were spending many millions of dollars a year to promote in Ukraine. ... Under the watchful eye of Pact, Rybachuk's New Citizen developed a project to identify the promises of Ukrainian politicians and monitor their implementation. They called it a ‘Powermeter’ (Vladometer), an idea they took from the American website ‘Obamameter.’ Funding came from the US Embassy, through its Media Development Fund, which falls under the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Other money came from the Internews Network, which receives its funding from the State Department, USAID, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and a wide variety of other government agencies, international organizations, and private donors. ... Washington's shows USAID paying PACT in Ukraine over $7 million under the general category of 'Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance.'" Via BB on Facebook. Image from entry, with caption: Geoffrey R. Pyatt, is the current United States Ambassador to Ukraine

E-diplomacy goes global: "More than just politicians and diplomats using Twitter and Facebook, digital diplomacy allows countries to project their power beyond their borders. However the fledgling field is already experiencing a crisis of credibility in the wake of the NSA scandal, writes Antony Funnell - Antony Funnell, For Alex Oliver, from the Lowy Institute for International Affairs, the real benefits of e-diplomacy come from its ability to widen the diplomatic conversation, to engage different stakeholders in an issue or dispute. 'It's one way of reaching these foreign publics, these individuals, these non-state actors, these civil society organisations,' she says. 'It's a way to communicate with them. E-diplomacy is a tool of public diplomacy which in itself is a tool of a nation's soft power.' ... The United States were the first to realise the potential of a concerted e-diplomacy approach during the early years of the Obama administration, according to Fergus Hanson, a visiting fellow with the Brookings Institution in Washington, and they quickly established a significant digital presence.

'The US is by far and away the leader in this space,' says Hanson. 'The US State Department has around 150 full-time staff working specifically on e-diplomacy related initiatives. You've got about 900 staff overseas at their missions who are using social media tools to some extent in their day-to-day jobs, and you have about 25 different units within the State Department itself that are trying to harness these tools for different purposes within the bureaucracy in Washington.' Hanson, who in 2012 released a comprehensive study of the size and scope of digital-diplomacy and its global practice, argues a defining feature of the American e-diplomacy program is its closeness to the US commercial technology sector. 'It's a little bit like walking into the Googleplex,' he says in describing the US State Department's giant Office of E-Diplomacy. 'It's a really different environment to a traditional Foreign Ministry. People are bouncing ideas off each other, it's a very fluid environment.' ... One of those chosen to help develop the American program was campaigner and activist Ben Scott . ... Though he no longer works for the State Department, Scott bristles at the perception that e-diplomacy is simply about using social media as a form of political broadcast. 'For us, 21st century statecraft had three different components. One was public diplomacy, of which social media was a part, that's where the critics of propaganda come in. A second part was building expertise in technology policy and the way the internet would impact economics, global economics, social movements and political movements, as we saw for example in the Arab Spring. And thirdly, understanding how technology and the internet would affect development policy and how we could use resources more effectively to promote economic growth around the world. There's no way to reduce that down to Twitter and Facebook,' he says. But while the American e-diplomacy program is well advanced, most Western countries, including Australia, still lag well behind the US in their digital skills and outreach. ... Alex Oliver suggests that cost might not be the only reason for Australia's reticence to engage in e-diplomacy; it's also very difficult to quantify its effectiveness. 'Governments want to see instant rewards, and unfortunately the goal of public diplomacy and the impacts of public diplomacy are long-term and they are not concrete. They are quite abstract, and so they are quite difficult to define and quite difficult to measure,' says Oliver." Image from entry, with caption: Member Of The European Parliament Paolo De Castro Discusses A Report As Another Mep Tweets About It In Real-Time (© European Union 2012/ European Parliament Flickr.Com/Cc/By-Nc-Nd/2.0)

$1.8 Million Funding Available for Professional Fellows Congresses [subscription only]- According to Google Search, "'A greater understanding of public diplomacy in the global community.' The funding opportunity number is ECA-ECAPEC-14-040 (CFDA 19.415)"

Building a major country relationship discussed - Hu Haidan, "Even if two countries do not share the same ideology, form of government and cultural background, they can still discover mutual benefits and interests. So said Li Xiaolin, president of the Chinese People Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), which just wrapped up a high-level conference at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government on Tuesday. The subject of the conference was how to build a new type of major country relationship between China and the US.

Among the dignitaries present were Zhao Qizheng, dean of the school of journalism and communication at Renmin University . ... Zhao said people-to-people diplomacy has been given a new understanding and is taking on more and more responsibilities in today's society. 'The people-to-people diplomacy we talked about today is called 'two-track' diplomacy. It's the highest expression of public-diplomacy,' he said. He explained 'two-track' diplomacy normally includes retired government employees, scholars and those who may become government employees in the near future." Image from entry, with caption: Zhao Qizheng, dean of journalism at Renmin University of China; Li Xiaolin, president of CPAFFC and Tony Saich, director of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, pose for a photo on Tuesday after a conference co-hosted by Harvard University

Warfare Three Ways: China waging ‘Three Warfares’ against United States in Asia, Pentagon says - Bill Gertz, "China is waging political warfare against the United States as part of a strategy to drive the U.S. military out of Asia and control seas near its coasts, according to a Pentagon-sponsored study. A defense contractor report produced for the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s think tank on future warfare, describes in detail China’s 'Three Warfares' as psychological, media, and legal operations. They represent an asymmetric 'military technology' that is a surrogate for conflict involving nuclear and conventional weapons. The unclassified 566-page report warns that the U.S. government and the military lack effective tools for countering the non-kinetic warfare methods, and notes that U.S. military academies do not teach future military leaders about the Chinese use of unconventional warfare. It urges greater efforts to understand the threat and adopt steps to counter it. ... The report also calls for bolstering 'public diplomacy' campaigns in Asia, using targeted investment and development in the region, and expanding military talks and exchanges. The Pentagon defines psychological warfare as efforts to influence or disrupt an enemy’s decision-making capabilities, to create doubts, foment anti-leadership sentiments, and deceive opponents. Psychological warfare includes diplomatic pressure, rumors, false narratives, and harassment to 'express displeasure, assert hegemony, and convey threats,' the report said. ... For media warfare, also known as public opinion warfare, the Chinese use constant activities to influence perceptions and attitudes.

'It leverages all instruments that inform and influence public opinion including films, television programs, books, the internet, and the global media network (particularly Xinhua and CCTV) and is undertaken nationally by the [People’s Liberation Army], locally by the People’s Armed Police, and is directed against domestic populations in target countries,' the report said. Hollywood has also been influenced by threats from the Chinese government, which threatens to block market access in an effort to pressure movie studios to avoid themes Beijing opposes. Also, China’s state-controlled television network CCTV maintains a full time White House reporter who regularly joins the rotating media pool, a position that could permit influencing U.S. media on China through pool reports. The goal of media warfare is to weaken an enemy’s will to fight, alter its awareness, and assist psychological and legal warfare goals." Image from entry, with caption: Delegates from Chinese People's Liberation Army

Uzbekistan Equally Important All the Countries of Central Asia! - Vladimir Paramonov, "The ‘Central Eurasia’ in partnership with Internet magazine ‘Time of the East ‘ (Kyrgyzstan) and informational support agency ‘Regnum’ (Russia) continues to virtual expert forum on cooperation in Central Asia (CA), involving the discussion of the various specialists spheres: it is only on the basis of an interdisciplinary approach can be close to solving the key regional issues. ...  Nazokat Kasymova, Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor: I think that is difficult to determine which of the post-Soviet Central Asian countries closer and priority for Uzbekistan. Each country has its own significance, again looking at what angle and in what plane to put a question in terms of economy, security, culture, traditions, or from the point of view of the state of the people and civil society.

What you need to do to at least preserve and strengthen the relationship as a maximum? Unequivocally that the most problematic are the issues that we identify with a national perspective. These interests, of course, will be different once defined as national, although, of course, we can speculate about the national, state and other interests. Therefore, in my opinion, the only way towards strengthening relations with our neighbors - is respect and civilized approach to addressing issues as well as the appropriate choice of policy instruments. There are likely to be good so-called  ... public diplomacy [народная/общественная дипломатия], the emphasis on general, regional interests, and can not exist outside of close and friendly relations." Image from entry

Princeton senior receives Rangel Fellowship in international affairs - Karin Dienst, Office of Communications, "Princeton University senior Brittany Hardy has been awarded a Rangel Fellowship to pursue a master's degree focused on international affairs as preparation for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Hardy is one of 20 students selected for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship from across the country. The program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need. ... The fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. Hardy, who is in the process of selecting a master's program, is planning to study global policy studies or public diplomacy. As part of the Rangel Fellowship, Hardy will work for the U.S. Congress on issues related to foreign policy. In the summer of 2015, she will work in a U.S. embassy in preparation for her career in the Foreign Service."


[Malasiyan Airlines] MH370: Chinese participation in search is propaganda coup for Xi Jinping: Spotlight turns on China's ambitions in Arctic and Antarctic as ice-breaker Xue Long joins search for debris from missing plane - Anne-Marie Brady,


-From, with caption: In the past few days at the nuclear security summit 2014..; via JR on Facebook