Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1

"[M]eat is the culinary equivalent of gasoline."

--Maureen Ogle, in her new book “In Meat We Trust,” a history of what she calls “Carnivore America"; image from, with caption: Lady Gaga's Meat Dress, 2010


March 1 Update


Big Adjustment: Five things Richard Stengel should know about his new job - Jonathan Kaplan: "The job of enhancing and repairing that image and building support for U.S. policies rests with the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. In February, after a protracted process, the Senate confirmed Richard Stengel, the former editor of Time magazine, for the post. ... Stengel should know five things to succeed. First, as Stengel learned, Senate confirmations are like divorces: Even the easy ones are difficult. It's well established that the confirmation process takes too long and is too intrusive. Stengel was nominated last September; he was confirmed in mid-February. ... That said, to succeed in government, Stengel will have to shed his identity as an author and editor. ... Second, running a government bureaucracy is one of the toughest jobs out there. ... Third, Stengel's relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry will change. As head of Time, he and Kerry were peers, insofar as they each ran big, important enterprises.

But now, Kerry is the principal and Stengel is a staffer. ... Meanwhile, he will be overshadowed by the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Doug Frantz and the cheery, unflappable State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. ... Fourth, the White House will expect him to implement some policies, and foreign policy crises will force some policy development, but Stengel will want to have his own bold prescriptions, too. That's a difficult balancing act, and that's why Stengel hopefully went into the job with his eyes open. ... Fifth, finding the time to do everything he wants will be his biggest challenge. ... Stengel should forget the 'Morning Joe' crowd. He should pour all of his considerable intellectual and physical energy into making and figuring out how to package and message U.S. foreign policy. Let Joe and Mika talk about decisions already made. Stengel will be making them." Uncaptioned image from entry

Voice of America had no correspondent at the White House when Obama warned Russia about Ukraine - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch.

Image from entry, with caption: Voice of America had only 87 words on President Obama’s statement on Ukraine and made a grammatical error. There was no video or audio from the White House on the VOA website. Both BBC and Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) had video of President Obama speaking about Ukraine

Former BBG member disturbed and saddened by Voice of America’s management - BBG Watcer, BBG Watch: "Writing on her public Facebook page, former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) presidentially-appointed member

Blanquita Cullum said that she was 'very disturbed and very sad to read that brilliant journalist Dan Robinson is leaving the Voice of America.' Robinson made it clear in his farewell message and in a separate letter to current BBG members that he made his decision to leave because of mismanagement and intimidation of journalists by senior VOA and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) officials. Robinson wrote that one official, whom he did not name but who is believed to be a senior VOA executive, bullied and threatened him with dismissal." Cullum image from entry

Notice of Meeting: U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, February 28, 2014: "The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will meet in open session at the Capitol Visitor’s Center (First Street, SE, Washington, D.C.) in Room SVC 203 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 5. The Commission Members will discuss the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative with featured guests Brett Bruen, Director of Global Engagement at the National Security Council, The White House; Elizabeth Berry Gips, Coordinator of the Young African Leaders Initiative at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Macon Phillips, Coordinator of the International Information Programs Bureau at the Department of State. Members of the public planning to attend any of the meetings should refer to the Federal Register notice for further details and instructions, including information pertaining to notification deadlines and reasonable accommodation. Questions concerning the meeting should be directed to Katherine Brown, Executive Director, U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Department of State at (202) 203-7386, or by e-mail at"

How Nuclear Talks Help the Mullahs Dominate the Middle East - "Despite the attacks on the United States by the Supreme Leader and other Iranian officials, and apparently to support the Iranian diplomatic effort in Vienna, Khamenei published on his Twitter and Facebook accounts (social networks are off limits to ordinary Iranian citizens) a summation of his statements about nuclear weapons being in violation of Islamic law. Iran claims that Khamenei has even

issued a fatwa prohibiting the possession and use of such weapons. This, however, is part of Iran’s public-diplomacy campaign, and in reality he has never published any such fatwa." Image from

Hundreds of NATO troops located in western Ukraine [Google "translation'] - Paul Martin, "On Tuesday, the Public Chamber of Russia held a hearing on the situation in Ukraine. The event was attended by well-known Russian, Ukrainian experts, government representatives. Bombshell information caused people’s deputy of Ukraine Oleg Tsarev. According to him, began to disembark in Lviv … NATO soldiers. 'In March, planned exercise line' Ukraine-Atlantic alliance.' Until the spring is still far, but hundreds of Western troops have already started landing in Lviv. ... The event was organized in the OP RF spoke Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy, Inter-Commission working group on international cooperation and public diplomacy."

Cultural policy in shaping the image of the European Union - "Abstract: In contemporary world politics the factor of culture has become highly influential. Due to this fact the states pay more and more attention to cultural policy, since export, distribution and promotion of national culture proved to be a very effective to reach national goals and shape the country’s image. As for the EU, due to the complexity its formation this is a special case. The European Union has a difficult task to present itself as united, but connecting different 'elements' with their own culture, history and social structure. Cultural diplomacy makes a great deal in this process. It has the ability to unite Europeans, build common European identity and promote the advantages of being EU-citizen.

Also it promotes the positive respectful image of the United Europe on the international level that is highly important for any entity, since the capacity to address the competitive challenges, the success of foreign policy, the development of trade and economic relations, touristic and educational attractiveness, internal political processes depend on how this entity is perceived by others in the world. ... There is no single opinion concerning the term 'foreign cultural policy'. Anglo-American politicians and scientists prefer to use the terms 'cultural and public diplomacy' instead. German scientists reject the term 'cultural diplomacy' insisting that only foreign cultural policy can be designed to achieve political objectives and promotional purposes. In France, alongside several of the terms are used 'action culturelle exterieure' (website of the Foreign Ministry), 'politique culturelle exterieure', 'diplomatie culturelle' (in scientific literature). In the Russian science the concept of 'cultural diplomacy' and 'foreign cultural policy' are equal (A. Golubev) ... . Never the less according to Russian school, cultural diplomacy is an important instrument of foreign policy, including in the field of culture; it’s the work of diplomats in culture, whereas in the implementation of foreign cultural policy may involve a variety of ministries and departments." Image from

More on French Cultural Relations - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I finally got the end of Francois [sic] Chaubet (ed.),La Culture [sic] Francaise [sic] dans le Monde [sic]: Les Defis [sic] de la Mondialisation [sic], 1980-2000 (Paris: Harmattan, 2010)[.] If you’re interested in the development of French cultural relations over the last three decades  I’d certainly recommend it. The title is a bit of a misnomer because many of the chapters cover the period up to about 2006, as such it gives quite a good sense of the debates behind the reorganizations and changes that have gone on over the last 3-4 years. The coverage is quite comprehensive in terms of themes; The Culture Ministry under Jack Lang, the Alliance Francaise [sic], changing concepts of support for higher education, books, arts, cinema, television, Sciences Pom [sic] the national library although the approach of the chapters differ [sic].  Full contents are here. The overall picture is of a system that is having to adapt to a world that is changing and if anything you got the impression that the debates here are converging with those in the UK in becoming a bit more instrumental."

Indonesia: “A Thousand Friends,” But No BFF - Ellen Huijgh, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Indonesia ... envisions itself as having 'a thousand friends and zero enemies' and

no BFF (Best Friend Forever), whether from North or South, East or West. ... [W]hile Indonesia’s relations with the U.S. may have deepened over the years, especially under the Obama presidency, this is not the only country with which Indonesia has developed greater ties . ... U.S.-Indonesian engagement through public diplomacy ... must be put into perspective. It does not really reflect an Indonesian preference for the U.S. ... It is also unlikely that Indonesia will be a fervent supporter of the propagation/promotion of U.S. values (as is partly intended by U.S. public diplomacy programs in Indonesia)." Image from

Presidency to help tell the Dutch story - "Coinciding with the recent interest in conservation of the Dutch settlement in Chinsurah, Presidency University has stumbled upon a storehouse of data at the West Bengal State Archives. The documents are related to the Dutch colony in Chinsurah that started flourishing from the late 16{+t}{+h} century. Presidency scholars, led by English department teacher Soubhik Mukherjee, have not only accessed the documents but also figured out the yet unknown Dutch settlement story, complete with names and faces of people who ran the flourishing colony at that time. The university has now established the Digital Humanities Centre that was inaugurated on Tuesday as part of a new tri-department initiative that will help reconstruct Dutch heritage. The centre organized a workshop with all the stakeholders in the project that will look into heritage, urban planning and academics as the Dutch built heritage is gradually brought back to life. The three departments involved in the project are English, History and Bengali.. ... Tuesday's seminar was preceded by a presentation by Paul Meurs, chair of restoration, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, who spoke on 'The Chinsurah Initiative and the cultural value of a place' organized by the Victoria Memorial on Monday. ... Introducing him along with head of political affairs and public diplomacy, Marielle van Miltenburg, Victoria Memorial curator Jayanta Sengupta said on Monday: 'There is poetic justice in hosting the event here because this building was set up by our colonial ancestors. The Chinsurah Initiative is part of the much broader initiative of what we call Europe-on-Ganges.' The project will promote tourism along the 30km stretch where the Portuguese (Bandel), Dutch (Chinsurah), French (Chandernagore) and Danes (Serampore) established flourishing colonies."

China gears up a “high-end think tank” to work all issues in South China Sea - "China is building a national think tank on South China Sea research to boost the country’s maritime power strategy and deal with looming maritime disputes. Established in October 2012, the Collaborative Innovation Center for South China Sea Studies, based at Nanjing University in Jiangsu province, is among the 14 national-level research projects prioritized and supported by the government since 2011. ... Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for

South China Sea Studies, said Chinese think tanks traditionally place more emphasis on historical studies than legal studies, and the aging of scholars is also a problem. 'With such serious challenges in the maritime situation, the center functions as a national think tank and is capable of integrating resources and addressing challenges, which is of huge significance,' Wu said. The center will facilitate China’s ambition of having a bigger say in the world as well as its public diplomacy, and it is expected to reduce the waste of research resources, Wu said." Image from

Joel Harding is announced as Director of the NSE Information Strategy Center - "Joel Harding, the well-known information and influence operations authority in Washington DC, is joining us as Director of the NSE Information Strategy Center. The Center will develop training programs in the areas of information operations, psychological operations, public diplomacy, and strategic influence. ... Joel has also researched and written extensively about IO, Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication, most notably on his blog: To Inform Is To Influence."

Some Dreamers of the Impossible Dream: Is it possible that the various ethnic groups in the Balkans might finally be in the process of overcoming the region’s fractious history? - James Thomas Snyder, "James Snyder is a former member of the NATO international staff. This article is adapted from his book, The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who spoke with the author."

Required: Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist – Education Partnership Outreach Services - "URS is the managing contractor of the Education Partnership Outreach Services (EPOS), providing project management and technical support.

The objective of EPOS is to deliver a public diplomacy and outreach program that will ensure Australia’s profile as a partner supporting Indonesia’s education development goals are both visible and recognised." Image from


Condemnation isn’t enough for Russian actions in Crimea - Editorial, Washington Post: Stripping Ukraine of Crimea would be Mr. Putin’s way of putting his foot on the neck of the country’s fragile interim government, which is already facing a severe economic crisis. As Mr. Obama noted, it would also be a blatant violation of Russia’s commitments, including the 1994 Budapest memorandum, in which Moscow pledged to the United States and Britain that it would respect Ukraine’s independence and borders in exchange for the removal of its nuclear weapons. It could create another chronic trouble spot in Europe — particularly as Crimea’s population includes a large minority of Ukrainian speakers as well as Crimean Tatars, a Muslim group that rejects Russian rule. Mr. Obama and European leaders must act quickly to prevent Ukraine’s dismemberment.

What Is Russia’s Aim in Ukraine? - Editorial, New York Times: President Obama, speaking at the White House, was right to warn Russia against any military move and to indicate that the United States would join the world in condemning a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

He also said that “there will be costs” for any intervention in Ukraine, though it was not clear what, if realistically anything, that might involve. Image from

How the West Can Shape Ukraine: Room For Debate - New York Times: "Together with the United States and Britain, Russia is a guarantor of the indivisibility of Ukrainian territory — a pledge the three countries made to Ukraine in return for the surrender of its nuclear arsenal in 1994." (Serhii Plokhii). "Ukraine is a divided country. Without Russia, Ukraine's problems are unresolvable, and ignoring Russian interest will be a disaster." (Fyodor Lukyanov) "Instead of jumping at the opportunity to engage Ukrainian leaders and people on the merits of capitalism and liberty, President Obama let the socialists argue for us." (Richard Grenell) "The prospects of NATO assimilating Ukraine represents taking Russia’s 'heart': the very ancestral home where Russia was founded and on which it repelled the fascist invasion in the Great Patriotic War." (Jeffrey Sommers)

Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda - Timothy Snyder, New York Review of Books: Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails.

The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.

Venezuela revokes CNN journalists’ press credentials for ‘war propaganda' - Venezuela has revoked or denied press credentials for seven CNN journalists working in the country for what President Nicolas Maduro called “war propaganda” amid coverage of anti-government protests. Image from entry, with caption: Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez stand at a barricade during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government, in a middle-class neighbourhood in Caracas February 20, 2014

From Nieman Reports: Detecting threads of Chinese government propaganda over time: “Fished out of the shadows, old news coverage in China’s media can provide clues to the family connections of government officials as reporters investigate their financial dealings” - Qian Gang, In the past, relying

purely on manual analysis, it had been virtually impossible to accurately determine how phrases like “Mao Zedong Thought” or “dictatorship of the proletariat” — terms that had had a deep impact on the course of the Cultural Revolution — had been used over time. Now, computer technology made it possible to enter a simple keyword and arrive at these results almost instantly. All at once, the numbers hidden within a sea of language revealed themselves. Image from entry

Upside-Down Propaganda: How China Keeps Fooling The New York Times, The BBC, And Other Wishful Thinkers - Eamonn Fingleton, Forbes: In a one-hour program predicting the coming collapse of China, BBC economics editor Peston spoke in apocalyptic terms about alleged fatal weaknesses in the Chinese banking system. In doing so he fell for one of the most sophisticated propaganda ploys of modern times. For nearly two decades now, Beijing has worked through various witting and unwitting surrogates, many of them Westerners, to persuade the United States and Europe that China’s rise is somehow an illusion. Beijing is playing on an apparently limitless capacity for wishful thinking in the West and, to anyone who has been following the story, the motive is obvious: to foster complacency and procrastination.

Dodging the Pyongyang Propaganda Trap - Sohn Gwang Joo, With regards to South Korea, the North is using the humanitarian issue of separated families as a decoy to foster domestic opposition to the upcoming joint ROK-U.S. military drills, and, vis the United States, Kim Jong Eun is getting the most out of his “friend” Dennis Rodman. There is no chance of Rodman grasping the concept of a “propaganda war," but he certainly fulfilled his role as a “useful idiot” by offering to “invite CNN to Pyongyang” to repay the lavish hospitality that was bestowed upon him. What is motivating North Korea to engage in this propaganda war beyond its shores? The answer is that, at the current juncture, they simply have no other option.

Propaganda in DPRK - Kinga Dygulska-Jamro, The purpose of this talk [February 25] is to examine the mythologization of Kim Jong Il, his father Kim Il Song and his son Kim Jong Un in the North Korean propaganda. We will explore the leader’s mythologization in six different spheres: Kim Jong Il’s official biography, his character, personal outlook, internal politics and leaderships, attitude toward the USA, and toward unification issues. We will also look at the links between literature, press and politics.

While past research offered multiple perspectives to advance our understanding about the nature of the North Korean regime, this talk singles out some of the unanswered questions that deserve further attention, e.g. how Koreans see themselves and their Dear Leader, or what is an influence of the leader’s mythologization on Korean society, what are the visible results of progressive propaganda techniques. Finally, what are the similarities between North Korean and American propaganda? Uncaptioned image from entry

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