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.

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