Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25


--The Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team; cited in Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura, "Secret Service agents on Obama detail sent home from Netherlands after night of drinking," Washington Post; image from; see also John Brown, "POTUS Visits and Public Diplomacy: Doing Nothing While Waiting for Nothing to Do, Huffington Post (November 2010)


PDcast #18: First Lady Public Diplomacy - thepublicdiplomat.com: "As First Lady, Michelle Obama is in a position of great global influence; how well does she wield public diplomacy? The PDcast is a weekly podcast featuring Jennifer OsiasTimi KomoniboAdam Cyr, and Michael Ardaiolo discussing the trending public diplomacy topics." Image from entry

Hill: Macedonia should be accepted as a NATO member - kurir.mk: "[Christopher Hill former USA Ambassador to Macedonia]: ... I have always believed that Macedonia, which acts as a NATO country should be accepted as such. This was said by Christopher Hill, a former ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia and [former] Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in an interview with Voice of America in Macedonian language. ... According to him, obviously Russians will

do the same in those countries that have not yet been admitted to NATO and underlined the importance of the media, as is the Voice of America to present the views of the U.S. and the EU over Russia to these countries. [Hill:] So, I think it is very important to keep this public diplomacy, to ensure that the waves are on. You know, one of the first things Russians did in the Crimea was to exclude all Ukrainian radio and TV stations. Therefore, I think what the Voice of America makes is the Balkans, especially now, perhaps more than ever before, should continue." Uncaptioned image from entry

House Foreign Affairs Committee votes $10 million for RFE/ RL and VOA surge in Ukraine- BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "Sources told BBG Watch

that the BBG Board, which does not have much confidence in VOA’s top leadership, plans to give most of the surge money to RFE/RL." Image from entry

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown Hosts Workshops For Editors And Journalists In St. Kitts and Nevis, And Barbados - Press Release, thestkittsnevisobserver.com: "The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States is pleased to host two workshops for editors and journalists in St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados on April 1 and April 3 respectively. The first session of the workshop will focus on best practices in journalism and will equip participants with the tools and resources needed to effectively practice their craft. The second session, the use of social media in journalism, will focus on the effective use of social media in the industry. ... The Embassy’s public diplomacy team remains committed to promoting press freedom and training opportunities for journalists throughout the Eastern Caribbean and looks forward to supporting current and emerging Caribbean media professionals."

U.S. official for international organization affairs to visit Taiwan - focustaiwan.tw: "The U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs is scheduled to visit Taiwan later this week, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Monday. Nerissa J. Cook will participate in meetings pertaining to international economic and development issues, said AIT, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Cook's visit in a statement, saying that it will increase mutual understanding and bilateral exchanges on issues such as the global economy and humanitarian aid. Cook's visit follows those by two other U.S. officials, according to the ministry. Susan Stevenson, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, is currently in Taiwan on a March 23-27 visit."

Department Of State Public Schedule March 25, 2014 - rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel attends the Fortune 'Most Powerful Women' Reception, at the Department of State."

Taming The Rebel Music - Katie Zavadski, dish.andrewsullivan.com: "I wish we had statistics on how successful these programs [State Department funded overseas cultural programs, specifically hip-hop] are. They strike me as somewhat counterproductive: one of the chief complaints levied against the West by purveyors of radical Islamic ideology, after all, is that we try to export our norms onto Muslim-majority countries. Would a youth drawn to that kind of rhetoric be more incensed if he found out the British or American government was purposefully pushing another brand of Islam? Would that push someone on the edge further to the extreme?"

Message to All PD Officers: “You Are Not Alone!” - Jonathan Henick, pdaa.publicdiplomacy.org: "[P]ublic diplomacy has made significant strides in its development as a discreet academic field over the last couple of decades. There are now a number of scholars (including some former practitioners) as well as a few academic centers of excellence devoting considerable efforts to advancing the theory and practice of public diplomacy. ... At the same time, academic treatment of public diplomacy suffers and is complicated by the Department’s work culture which tends to prefer private and confidential channels to the detriment of transparency and free sharing of information. I am firmly convinced that both academics and practitioners stand to benefit if we can successfully build stronger bridges between our respective communities."

Three Public Diplomacy Ambassadors Reflect (I) - Donald Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council:  "Which earlier Public Diplomacy experiences were most useful when you became Ambassador? This was the first question I posed to a panel of three former U.S. Ambassadors who came into the Foreign Service as Public Diplomacy officers.

The three recently retired Ambassadors were Linda Jewell (Ecuador), Greta Morris (Republic of the Marshall Islands), and Cynthia Efird (Angola). Their comments on Public Diplomacy’s role in integrating a Mission -- and how Ambassadors must sometimes 'push back' from Washington – are striking." Uncaptioned image from entry

Three Public Diplomacy Ambassadors Reflect (II) - Donald Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council: "Did you see PD any differently as Ambassador than you had when you were a PAO [Public Affairs Officer]? This was the second question I posed to a panel of three former U.S. Ambassadors who came into the Foreign Service as Public Diplomacy officers. They were Cynthia Efird (former Ambassador to Angola), Linda Jewell (Ecuador), and Greta Morris (Republic of the Marshall Islands). Again they emphasized the value of earlier experience in Public Diplomacy."

How Egypt is Stopping the Next "Syrian War": The West's next proxy war is being stopped before it starts in Egypt - landdestroyer.blogspot.com: "[P]reparations for the 'Arab Spring' began as early as 2008. Egyptian activists from the now infamous April 6 movement were in New York City for the inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) summit, also known as Movements.org. There, they received training, networking opportunities, and support from AYM's various corporate and US governmental sponsors, including the US State Department itself. The AYM 2008 summit report (page 3 of .pdf) states that the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James Glassman attended, as did Jared Cohen who sits on the policy planning staff of the Office of the Secretary of State. Six other State Department staff members and advisers would also attend the summit along with an immense list of corporate, media, and institutional representatives. ... [T]he ‘Arab Spring’ was long planned - and planned from abroad - with activists from Tunisia and Egypt on record receiving training and support from the West so that they could return home and sow unrest in a region-wide coordinated campaign.

An April 2011 AFP report would confirm this, when US State Department's Michael Posner would admit that tens of millions of dollars had been allocated to equip and train activists 2 years ahead of the ‘Arab Spring.’" Image from entry, with caption: Backlash against the Brotherhood. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood's political success, it represents a violent, loud, minority that is quietly opposed by the vast majority of not only Egyptians, but Arabs across North Africa and the Middle East. Its high level of organization, immense funding provided by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even the West, including Israel, allows it to perpetuate itself in spite of its unpopularity, while its violent tactics allow it to challenge dissent.

2013 Forum USIA And The Foundations Of Public Diplomacy: Valuable Reflections For Today’s Practice - Jesselle Macatiag, publicdiplomacycouncil.org: "Panelists highlighted key elements of public diplomacy under USIA from its inception in 1953 through 1999 when the Department of State absorbed most of USIA and broadcasting entities became independent. Three broad questions framed the panelists’ presentations: how did USIA public diplomacy contribute to the successful conclusion of the Cold War, foster democratic governance around the world, and advance mutual understanding through non-governmental cooperation?"

Towards a Smarter Public Diplomacy - Guy Golan, diplomaticourier.com: "Whether they aim to raise awareness of an issue, promote acceptance of foreign policy, or drive specific action, the key to measuring public diplomacy is based on governments' ability to identify SMART campaign objectives. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound objectives. Public diplomats must move away from such grandiose goals as 'winning the hearts and minds of people around the world', and towards quantifiable SMART objectives that clearly identify the campaign's primary target audiences, its time frame, and its desired outcomes. ... As a key component of international relations, public diplomacy programs should strategically align with any nation's foreign policy objectives. Therefore, standards of measurement and quantification should be required by legislators and program administrators alike. As the old saying goes, 'If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.'” See also.

Nowruz, a Harbinger of Cultural Diplomacy - Kourosh Ziabari, internationalpolicydigest.org: Nowruz, meaning the 'New Day,' refers to a set of festivities and rites that mark the arrival of spring and the Persian New Year. It is not simply an ordinary event of celebration and rejoicing or a national custom. Rather it is an historical and interregional tradition which dates back to some 3,000 years ago and connects people of different ethnic, lingual and national backgrounds and promotes regional peace and friendship. Today, Nowruz has been recognized by the international community as a worldwide cultural event with significant social and political implications. Even though many nations observe and enshrine this festival, its origins and roots belong to Iranians, so leaders from different Western countries seize the opportunity of Nowruz every year to reach out to the Iranian people and send political messages to them.

For instance, the U.S. presidents in the recent years have regularly recorded video messages addressed to the Iranian people on the occasion of the Persian New Year. This message includes their plans and ambitions for strengthening and repairing the long-marred relations between Iran and the United States. ... Nowruz can be viewed as a powerful instrument of cultural diplomacy and soft power which is capable of playing a major role in bringing the nations of this geographical area closer to each other and promoting peace and friendship in a region which usually experiences political turmoil and turbulence as a result of foreign political or military interventions." Image from entry, with caption: Nowruz celebration.

Is Turkey hostage to Erdoğan's fate? - todayszaman.com: The government's move to block Twitter in Turkey clearly reveals its mood and mindset; this is typical 'panic attack' pathology. ... Twitter and other social media platforms are communication tools that symbolize the characteristics of this age. Banning Twitter, therefore, is to fight against the realities of the age. And nobody has won such a fight so far. Members of the international community, particularly the EU and the US, have issued strong warnings and statements saying that the ban constitutes a grave violation of the freedoms of expression and communication. One of the most forceful and influential of these reactions was the statement by the US State Department. Douglas Frantz, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy [sic] at the US State Department, described blocking Twitter as a 21st century version of book burning and added that this would not make the perpetrators any stronger. And I agree that the Twitter ban is a violation of freedom and democracy that is as grave as burning books, magazines and newspapers."

La «gastrodiplomatie» ou l’étude des relations internationales par l’assiette - Julie-Anne De Queiroz, Le Figaro: "Une nouvelle façon d’étudier la géopolitique fait son entrée à l’American University de Washington: la 'gastrodiplomatie', qui envisage la gastronomie comme un outil favorisant la compréhension culturelle d’un pays. ... Les gens ont tendance à voir la cuisine comme un sujet 'trivial et frivole' et la nourriture comme simplement 'quelque chose que l’on ingère pour rester vivant', souligne Sam Chapple-Sokal, lui aussi chercheur en diplomatie culinaire. Un avis que l’on pourrait croire partagé par Guillaume Gomez, chef des cuisines de l’Élysée ,qui avait commencé

son intervention à Sciences Po en lançant: 'Il y a 20 ans, vous n’auriez jamais invité un cuisinier à Sciences Po pour donner une conférence!' Pourtant, il expliquait avoir pour rôle 'la mise en avant de la gastronomie française', domaine à part entière au sein du patrimoine et de la culture nationale. Il fait d’ailleurs partie du 'club des Chefs des Chefs', une organisation regroupant les cuisiniers des chefs d’État, rappelant que la gastronomie peut être un véritable outil de négociation et une arme influente." Image from entry

Interactive Installation [includes video] - niklasroy.com: "Made for – and exhibited at Goethe-Institut Krakau from March 2014 until December 2014 [.] 'Suck the Balls!' lets people escape the daily grind and immerse into an endless, ecstatic play with thousands of little yellow plastic balls. The installation consists of a ball pit and an 80 meters long pneumatic tube transport, which fills up the entire historic staircase of the Potocki Palace in Kraków.

When entering the ball pit, the cabin’s lights switch on and the ball suction action starts! The visitor can operate the peculiar machinery with a suction spout. When sucking the balls which are surrounding his feet, the balls race through the transparent pipe system, creating a visually stunning scene. The journey of the little balls ends in a container above the ball pit, waiting for the climax of the operation: When the visitor pulls the release handle of the container, a fountain of balls splashes down onto his head in a joyful shower. A helmet is provided to keep the hairstyle in excellent condition throughout the whole experience." Via BM. Image from entry

Natraj - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "At a music school, we eyed a statue of Shiva in a dance pose.

Saadia explained: Shiva engaged in the divine Dance of Bliss to destroy the weary universe. He assumed the Natraj pose, and began his chant. When his chant is finished, the world will end and destruction will begin. ... [I]t became clear to me: public diplomacy is natraja. If we can destroy the pre-conceived notions held in the mind of the other, it is then that we can begin to create." Uncaptioned image from article


Germany Co-opts Putin's Anti-Ukraine Propaganda To Support International Observers and Joining the EU (At Last, A Sign Of Life) - Paul Roderick Gregory, Forbes: The core of Vladimir Putin’s Big Lie propaganda campaign is that the “extremists and neo-Nazis,” who illegally gained control of the Ukrainian government on Euro Maidan Square, pose a mortal threat to Ukraine’s ethnic Russians, which required Russian humanitarian intervention to protect and secure their human rights. Moreover, the illegitimate Ukrainian government, according to Putin’s propaganda machine, poses a threat to the entire region in form of instability and collapse of law and order.

Russia reserves the right to intervene if chaos threatens to get out of hand. So goes Putin’s narrative, and this Big Lie is the only media message, which the people of Russia and East and South Ukraine receive over the air waves. Almost to a man or woman, they have fallen for it as jubilant Crimeans wave Russian flags to the strains of Russian military bands and ecstatic Muscovites cheer Putin in a staged celebration that rivals the pomp and circumstances of the Sochi closing ceremony. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Franz Walter Steinmeier, co-opted this Putin narrative to justify the pending European Association Agreement with Ukraine. Steinmeier pointed out that, by the logic of Putin’s own propaganda, Russia’s and the world’s interests are served by Ukraine taking the first step to membership in the EU. Image from


--From: Tom McKay, "If the U.S. Were Graded Using the UN's Index For African Development, Here's What We'd See," policymic.com, which states: "Here's how the United States would look if it was measured on a county level by the same standards used to rank countries by the UN, the Human Development Index. While much of the country scales up well — clocking in at highest, very high, and high development — swaths of the nation are under-developed and live in poverty. Those areas are predominantly in the American South, the rural mid-Atlantic, and Texas." Via JB on Facebook


"I've been a Russian teacher and an advertising executive and a consular associate and a CLO and a graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom and a human rights reporter and a Leahy vetter and a public diplomacy officer and a freelance writer and a web copy editor and I'm all of these things but none at once, you know?"

--From: On Forks In Roads and Six-Pack Abs - Email From The Embassy: After three years in Beijing, we're headed to Amman, Jordan. For family and friends who want to follow our adventures, this is it...

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