Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 1-5

"Greed is picking up."

--Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management, regarding "the continuation of a bull market"; image from


ISIS mocks Obama in Michael Bay-style propaganda video - Updated by Zack Beauchamp,


Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel Travels to China and the Republic of Korea - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, July 3, 2014, "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel is traveling to China and the Republic of Korea July 7-10. In the Republic of Korea July 7-8, Under Secretary Stengel will meet with his Korean counterparts to discuss the strong U.S.-Republic of Korea bilateral relationship. He will also meet with Korean students, U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, and Korean youth leaders.

Under Secretary Stengel will travel to China July 9-10, where he will accompany Secretary Kerry to the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Beijing. The CPE provides a high-level forum for government, civil society, and private-sector representatives to discuss cooperation in the areas of education, culture, science and technology, sports, and women’s issues. While in Beijing, the Under Secretary will also meet with U.S. journalists and U.S. exchange program alumni." See also. Stengel image from

State Department Still Doesn’t Have Public Diplomacy Strategy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "About 12 months ago the I blogged about the State Department’s Office of Inspector General’s critical report on the Bureau of International Information Programmes. This aspect of the report that attracted most attention was that State’s digital diplomacy operation was essentially buying followers. Now the OIG has conducted a second inspection to measure compliance with the 80 recommdendations from the report.  Of the original 80, 15 were closed before the re-inspection, 43 have been closed as a result of the inspection but 7 have been reissued and 15 have been revised and reissued. While the report acknowledges improvements in IIP several of the recommendations that remain open are affect more that this single bureau. Among the more significant issues: State lacks a proper department wide public diplomacy strategy [;] the head of IIP should have Assistant Secretary Status [;] IIP and Public Affairs need to develop a department wide social media strategy [;] IIP and Public Affairs need a clearer division of labour that includes roles and audiences. As you would expect it’s easier to fix how you buy airline tickets than it is to sort complex strategic questions."

USEU Exchange Program Alumni -- Diplomacy at Work and Play - Tatyana Pyak: "As a new member of USEU’s Public Affairs team, I find it both exciting and challenging to try to grasp the extent of collaboration between the United States and the EU. While our governments seek common ground on a variety of issues, the Public Affairs office engages in people-to-people diplomacy. ... Since my arrival in January, my primary responsibility has been to work with USEU alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a flagship exchange that sends European professionals on tours of the United States. ... Just last week, USEU and the U.S. Embassy to Belgium hosted a World Cup USA-Germany live screening event for our alumni. This was the first time I saw European and American soccer fans cheering for both teams.

I guess it worked – Germany scored, and both the U.S. and Germany made it to the next round! Bringing people together: That’s the power of public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Exchange program alumni and USEU staff cheer on their favorite during the U.S.–Germany World Cup game.

The Port of Joy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "After the phenomenal concert(s) at Teatro do Paiol, the next morning the Dellas had a workshop masterclass at a music conservatory. ... After lunch, the Dellas were introduced to the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. The ambassador had wanted to see the Dellas perform, and so she made the trip to Porto Alegre for an (early) July 4th reception that the Dellas were performing in.

The Dellas got to meet the Ambassador and chat for a bit before heading back to the theater to give a presentation and performance for the Ambassador and 70 English Language Access students. They had a great time performing and speaking with the English students about music and American life." Uncaptioned image from entry

Arts Around Town: James Beard Foundation highlights local chef Lee Chizmar - Susan Kalan, "Since 2006, Susan Ungaro has been president of the James Beard Foundation, carrying out its mission 'to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.' Among her accomplishments has been the expansion of its culinary scholarship program, and serving as host for its traveling national food festival, Taste America. In September 2012, she collaborated with the U.S. Department of State to develop the 'Diplomatic Culinary Partnership,' a new initiative to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts.'"

Venice Biennale: HOK Celebrates 40 Years of International Work - "9. US Embassy Office Annex Moscow, Russia Moscow Embassy Neighboring the Chancery building designed by HOK, the New Office Annex in Moscow will be one of the first embassies built under the new Department of State Design Excellence Program.

The seven-story addition includes a new consular section, 300 desks for State Department and US federal agency personnel, public diplomacy spaces including a new auditorium and two floors of residential apartments. HOK’s initial project on this embassy compound was to redesign the Moscow Chancery. The design concept broke apart the previously designed inward-facing, solid cube and replaced it with a glassy building that opens toward the Russian White House. Scheduled for completion in 2016, the new annex will extend this message. While the chancery’s design reflected the embassy’s official business functions, the design of the annex strengthens the relationship between the American and Russian people." Image from entry

Wanted: A Real War Of Ideas With Russia - Ilan Berman, "Since the start of the crisis over Ukraine some four months ago, Russia has waged a massive, sustained media campaign to shape global perceptions about events taking place on the ground there. This offensive—carried out en masse via state-run outlets like Russia Today and through an onslaught of print, radio and television reports—has included everything from blatant mischaracterizations of Ukraine’s political parties to outright fabrications about the extent of the pro-Russian sentiment that exists in the south and east of the country. ... Without a countervailing message, Russia’s outreach has resonated. At home, having spun his government’s incursion into Ukraine as a strategic victory, Russian president Vladimir Putin is riding a wave of unprecedented popularity. A new survey recently released by the Moscow-based Levada Center has found that Putin enjoys an 82 percent approval rating among Russians between the ages of 40 and 54—and an even higher one among those citizens who are too young to remember the days of the Soviet Union. Abroad, meanwhile, more than a few foreign publics have accepted the idea that Crimea’s annexation was more or less legitimate, and that further Russian action in Ukraine—while undesirable—might not be so unwarranted after all. Belatedly, American public diplomacy is attempting to push back on this narrative. The various organs of U.S. international broadcasting (chief among them Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America) have done so by ramping up their coverage of events in the 'post-Soviet space.' They have also launched initiatives like 'Crimea Realities,' a new website dedicated to countering disinformation about conditions in Russia’s newest region. But much more needs to be done. Most glaringly, U.S. outreach requires resources in order to properly compete with that of Russia. 

Currently, the Voice of America’s Russia Service is funded to the paltry tune of just $13 million annually—a mere fraction of the $300 million a year that Russia Today alone is estimated to spend on its particular brand of 'news.' At this level, U.S. public diplomacy toward the Russian-speaking world lacks anything resembling the scope and reach needed to counter the Kremlin. The funds to do so, moreover, are readily available, tucked away in various corners of the U.S. government (such as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s now-defunct U.S.-Russia Investment Fund). They simply require attention from Congress in order to be repurposed and harnessed for public diplomacy purposes. Even more vitally, U.S. broadcasting needs sustained attention from the White House. In its first term, the Obama administration made the idea of a 'reset' of relations with Russia a centerpiece of its foreign policy agenda. That approach had fallen on hard times even before the recent events in Ukraine. In their wake, it has been utterly discredited. The White House has been at pains to articulate anything resembling a coherent policy toward Russia since. And because it has not, the official media response to Putin’s Russia has remained largely rudderless." Image from entry

Fixing U.S. International Broadcasting – At Last! - Dennis Mulhaupt and S. Enders Wimbush, "The notional division of labor for U.S. international broadcasting is, first, to support America’s public diplomacy by explaining American policy and 'telling America’s story' to listeners and viewers worldwide while offering a menu of objective news and information. The second function is to provide 'surrogate' media services focused on local news, with analysis and commentary, in societies where media are not independent or are easily influenced or intimidated. The public diplomacy role—explaining American policy and telling America’s story—belongs to the Voice of America, or should. The 'surrogate' broadcasting role was originated and made famous by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the Cold War, which is the model for the other grantee organizations. But in reality, the division of labor between public diplomacy and surrogate broadcasting is in the eye of the beholder, with the blurring of responsibility most notable at the Voice of America, which duplicates a number of the 'surrogate' language services of RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia. At the same time the VOA’s broadcasts to some markets, for example to sub-Saharan Africa where it is the only U.S. broadcaster, are mostly 'surrogate' by design. Meanwhile VOA’s public diplomacy function is out of favor with many at VOA, who complain that it should be an independent news agency free of compromising associations with U.S. policy. Back to the taxpayers, who might be forgiven for asking why they should be footing the bill for adding more 'news and information' to an saturated global media universe—already exploding from thousands of traditional, new, and social media sources in virtually every corner of the world—without so much as a mention of America’s interests or points of view. What’s the point? Where’s the return on investment? In early 2011, we were two of three principal authors of a radical plan that addressed all of these issues. That plan called for refocusing VOA’s mission and consolidating the grantee networks into a single organization, where strategic priorities could be set and assets shared; a chief executive officer to manage all U.S. international broadcasting’s day-to-day operations (thereby getting the board out of management); and the elimination of competing broadcasting efforts spread across the five networks. The BBG voted unanimously to adopt the plan.

Almost immediately one or two members consistently and successfully blocked efforts to implement it. Today, more than three years later, not much has changed: no consolidation, no CEO, and little progress on ending duplication and waste. And U.S. international broadcasting remains as distant from any connection to our nation’s foreign policy objectives as ever. The United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490) will change this. It incorporates most elements of our proposed plan and goes one better: it abolishes the BBG. This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Elliott Engel, calls for strengthening the congressionally mandated and longstanding missions of the VOA (public diplomacy) and the grantees (surrogate broadcasting), and it creates urgently needed new oversight and management structures for each to implement them effectively. First, the legislation replaces the BBG with the U.S. International Communications Agency (USICA), which will have direct jurisdiction over only the federal agency, which is over the VOA and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. (The International Broadcasting Bureau, an anomaly from the earlier reform acts, will be abolished.) USICA will have its own CEO, who will be responsible for day-to-day management of the agency. Second, HR4490 will consolidate the surrogate Radio Frees—RFE/RL, MBN and RFA—into a single grantee organization, the Freedom News Network, with its own board and CEO apart from USICA. Surrogate broadcasting, a powerful foreign policy soft power instrument, will get a new impetus and stronger strategic connections to broad U.S. foreign policy objectives as well as a new, worldwide mandate. Pushback on the proposed legislation, which passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously in June, has been light, with even the VOA’s unions in support. Some veterans of VOA have expressed concern that the Royce/Engel reforms could lower the firewall between U.S. international broadcasting and meddlesome policy bodies, especially the State Department. We believe this concern is overblown. In fact, the new bill reaffirms the important safeguards enshrined in the VOA Charter passed by Congress and signed by President Ford almost 40 years ago. But, the Voice of America is America’s voice, not an independent agent like CNN. No one can plausibly imagine that 'political neutrality' is part of its raison d’être, nor should it be. And, in fact, our global audience is not naive, they generally are aware of the networks’ U.S. government connections (indeed the U.S. link is continually pointed out by their own government’s propaganda, yet they choose to listen or watch anyway). Research also shows consistent patterns of audiences wanting more discussion of U.S. policy, opinions, and attitudes, not less, on issues of concern to them.See also. Image from

Journalists at Odds With Union Over Role of Voice of America - Ron Nixon, New York Times - "Voice of America journalists who are fighting to maintain what they say is their editorial independence are now at odds not only with Congress, but also with their own union. The union, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1812, recently endorsed a bill that would change language in the charter for the 72-year-old news agency and require it to actively support American policy. That came as a surprise to some Voice of America employees, who said the legislation would make them mouthpieces for government policy. They want the union to withdraw its letter of support. ...The bill was approved in April by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is sponsored by the panel’s chairman, Representative Ed Royce, Republican of California, and its ranking member, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York. The full House is scheduled to vote on it after the Fourth of July recess.

The Senate is working on a similar bill to overhaul the V.O.A. and four other government-financed broadcasters like Radio Free Europe. The House bill would revise the language of the Voice of America charter to state explicitly that the agency has a role in supporting American 'public diplomacy' and countering propaganda from countries like Russia and China. The charter, signed in 1976, now states that the 'V.O.A. will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. V.O.A. news will be accurate, objective and comprehensive.' But, it adds, 'V.O.A. will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinions on these policies.' Voice of America programs — more than 70 for television and 200 for radio — are broadcast in 45 languages, and it has affiliates around the world." Image from

Is Congress trying to neuter Voice of America’s journalism or save it? -  "In a new Columbia Journalism Review article, former Voice of America (VOA) senior correspondent Gary Thomas leans heavily in favor of arguments against what he calls ‘the Royce bill.’ The bill, however, is bipartisan. All Democratic and Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously voted to approve what is known as the H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act, which in fact has two sponsors: Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and many co-sponsors from both parties. Thomas, himself a strong critic of the Voice of America, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) management, quotes arguments of several opponents of the Royce – Engel legislation who fear that ‘Congress tries

to neuter Voice of America’s journalism.’ Thomas also quotes Ted Lipien, whom he identified as publisher of BBG Watch (the site is published and edited by a number of current and former VOA journalists and others) and as a strong supporter of management reforms proposed in the bill, but being less concerned that the proposed legislation might move VOA heavily toward policy-advocacy for the U.S. government. Gary Thomas spent 27 years at Voice of America before retiring in 2012. ... Lipien, whom Thomas interviewed by phone for his latest article, is a journalist, writer, former listener to VOA and Radio Free Europe in Central Europe under communism, former director of VOA’s Polish Service during Solidarity’s struggle for democracy, former IBB regional marketing director for Eurasia, former VOA Eurasia division director and briefly acting associate director in charge of VOA Central English News division. ... Lipien has some minor reservations about the Royce – Engel bill’s wording, but he believes that this issue can be easily resolved by including the whole text of the VOA Charter in the final legislation and making a few other minor textual modifications in the final version of the legislation.” Image from

Voice of America Needs to Avoid Extremes and Be Real - Ted Lipien, bbgwatch: "What some VOA Newsroom employees may not realize, but what the AFGE Local 1812 Union leadership probably knows well, is that H.R. 4490 was a compromise bill between a House that wanted to save VOA and Senate Republicans who wanted complete defederalization (and therefore destruction of) of VOA. I know that some people in the VOA English Newsroom really hate H.R. 4490, while many among VOA language services and most other employees I talk to strongly support the bill’s management reform provisions. But if this bill fails because of pressure, they’re going to REALLY hate the next BBG reform bill – especially if the Senate changes hands in January. AFGE 1812 knows this and most VOA employees do as well. Congress simply isn’t going to support the current (or higher) funding levels for an organization that shows complete contempt for any affiliation with the U.S. government. The VOA Charter is a good compromise by guaranteeing news objectivity while also providing for an accurate and balanced U.S. government news beat which is not PR or even public diplomacy. But the critical two other principles of the VOA Charter, which give U.S. taxpayers what they expect, have been severely compromised by the current VOA and agency management." Lipien image from entry

Radio listeners, Vietnamese shortwave jammers surprised and confused by U.S. agency cuts - "Vietnamese radio jamming stations continued to jam Radio Free Asia (RFA) shortwave frequencies that had gone suddenly silent on June 30, 2014 on orders of the federal bureaucracy in charge of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) agency in Washington. In the past, the same bureaucracy also had wanted to end Voice of America (VOA) Chinese and Tibetan shortwave radio broadcasts but was prevented by the U.S. Congress from proceeding. This time VOA English shortwave broadcasts to China, Tibet and the rest of Asia were cut with hardly any prior announcement to audiences. Shortwave transmissions to Vietnam were cut as well. Vietnamese regime jammers were not the only ones who were surprised and confused

by the U.S. government’s latest sudden ending of many shortwave radio broadcasts to countries without free media and poor Internet infrastructure or Internet censorship in Asia, including Central Asia, Middle East, as well as Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe." See also (1) (2). Image from

Дженнифер Еремеева: американка в Москве [Jennifer Eremeeva: An American in Moscow] - "Дженнифер Еремеева, американская писательница и блоггер, которая уже около 20 лет живет в России, надеется, что со временем эти настроения все же изменятся к лучшему. «Последние 3-4 месяца были самыми неожиданными в моей жизни в России, – сказала она в беседе с Русской службой «Голоса Америки». – Мы ощутили резкий перепад от позитивного настроения, созданного Олимпиадой – к антизападным настроениям в связи с событиями вокруг Украины. Я не могу сказать, что меня оскорбляли, или плохо ко мне относились, но я чувствую на улицах некое настороженное отношение». По ее словам, если бы она могла поменять у россиян одну черту характера, то она бы избавила их от ксенофобии.

[Google "translation": Eremeeva Jennifer, an American writer and blogger who for nearly 20 years living in Russia, hoping that eventually these sentiments still change for the better. 'Last 3-4 months have been the most unexpected of my life in Russia - she said in an interview with Russian service Voice of America. - We experienced a sharp drop from the positive mood created by the Olympics - to the anti-Western sentiments in relation to the events around Ukraine. I can not say that I was insulted or treated me badly, but I feel in the streets of some cautious attitude.' According to her, if she could change one thing about the Russians character, it would have relieved them of their xenophobia. Eremeeva image from entry

La Danae di Tiziano a Washington inaugura presidenza italiana a Consiglio Ue: La tela è arrivata da Napoli alla National Gallery of Art, che conserva la più grande collezione dell'artista negli Stati Uniti - "E’ stata la Danaë di Tiziano, una delle opere più rappresentative del Rinascimento italiano, a dare l’avvio al semestre di presidenza italiana del Consiglio dell’Unione Europea nella capitale americana. Presenti alla National Gallery of Art, che ospiterà il quadro risalente al periodo 1544–45 fino al due novembre prossimo, rappresentanti dell’amministrazione americana, membri del corpo diplomatico e della stampa. ... La mostra della Danaë

è il primo di una serie di eventi organizzati dall’ambasciata d’Italia a Washington per celebrare negli Usail semestre italiano di Presidenza dell’Unione Europea. Da qui a Dicembre 2014, sono previste iniziative non solo nel campo dell’arte e della cultura, ma anche dell’economia, dell’innovazione, della scienza e della public diplomacy. Tra di esse un convegno su 'Crescita e occupazione' in cui si metteranno a confronto le strategie economiche europee e americane e una serie di incontri sul 450esimo anniversario di Galileo Galilei." Image from entry

Cochise County Tourism Council stretches for new goals - "For over a decade the Cochise County Tourism Council has developed maps, brochures and advertising to help attract tourists and guests to Cochise County. But after reviewing the most recent tourism survey results and doing some self evaluation, the group determined they would meet current social and economic challenges head-on. ... [At] the June 25 meeting of the CCTC ... [there was] the special presentation given by Mexican Consul Oscar Francisco Holguin from Douglas. Holguin’s material was well researched, very informative and best of all was squeezed into a power point presentation using the lens of the Mexican Consulate’s line of sight.

What some people on this side of the border see as a problem is often seen as an opportunity to expand businesses and services by the growing middle class in Mexico. Titled: 'A new public diplomacy Strategy for Southeastern Arizona', Holguin spoke effortlessly and without notes as he walked the CCTC through a step-by-step evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses found on either side of the U.S.-Mexican border, from the perspective in his role as the Mexican Consulate. At just the right moment Holguin said: 'We are not selling our good stuff, everywhere you look it’s all about drugs and violence and we all know that there is so much more!' Holguin asked the group, 'Do you know how many tourists visited Mexico last year? Twenty-three million visitors, and do you know how many of them were from the U.S.? Twenty million!' 'It is time for us to work more closely together to avoid the mistakes of the past,' concluded Holguin. ... Holguin was accompanied by Julio Alejandro Éspinosa Alvarez, the Consul’s public affairs deputy and aide. Both men encouraged continued dialogue and future action steps to be taken together." Image from entry, with caption: Mexican Deputy Counsel Oscar Holguin speaks last week to the Cochise County Tourism Council in Naco.

Sport, in the name of Iranian-US diplomacy - Sam Khanlari, "Creative solutions are necessary to sustain more peaceful relations between Iran and America. Your Middle East's contributor Sam Khanlari offers you some real insight into

what role sport can play." Image from entry, with caption: Iranian football fans celebrate at Vanak square in northern Tehran on June 18, 2013.

Chinese garden diplomacy: What the 11-year struggle to build a friendship garden reveals about soft power - "In the past decade and a half, Chinese classical gardens have opened in Staten Island in New York, St Louis, Seattle, San Marino in California and Portland, Oregon—often with help from Chinese authorities. Yet the story of Chinese garden diplomacy is revealingly different.

As China rises, its officials have promoted ever-grander projects, culminating in a 12-acre Qing-dynasty garden that China has offered to build in the National Arboretum. The 'National China Garden' is to feature a lake, a two-storey teahouse, rockeries, pavilions, bamboo groves, art exhibits and a homage to the White Pagoda of Yangzhou. America’s reaction has been official graciousness, followed by foot-dragging." Uncaptioned image from entry

Behind the Propaganda Wars / China wages ¥880 billion global media campaign - "CCTV’s English-language news program is currently broadcast in about 100 countries, reaching a potential 85 million viewers. It has hired Phillip Yin, a former anchor at Bloomberg Television in the United States, and Mike Walter, an Emmy award winner who has anchored the morning news for CBS, as part of a crew covering a wide range of topics, from world affairs to economics and culture. In addition to English, CCTV also broadcasts in French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic, which, along with Chinese, are the six official languages of the United Nations. CCTV also broadcasts online in 12 languages. In 2012, it opened production centers in the United States and Kenya as part of an effort to create programs catering to regional tastes. This bold overseas push by the Chinese media comes with major financial backing from the Chinese government. The Chinese government in 2009 and 2010 alone invested $8.7 billion (about ¥880 billion) in CCTV, China Radio International, Xinhua News Agency, and The China Daily, an English newspaper, according to reports in the May/June 2012 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, a U.S. media journal. This dwarfs the yearly operating expenses of NHK World TV, which are about ¥15 billion. CCTV News’ focus on the 'uncertain elements' in Japan-U.S. relations hint strongly at the influence of government policy on news produced by the Chinese media."

Official Hails Own Taiwan Visit, Despite Protests - "On his first, four-day visit to Taiwan last week, Beijing’s Taiwan affairs chief Zhang Zhijun worked on building ties with the independence-inclined Democratic Progressive Party. Another ostensible purpose of his trip was contact with the island’s public. He may have got more of this than he wanted: protests, echoing ones in the spring that included an occupation of the island’s legislature, forced the cancellation of some events. In Zhang’s subsequent statements on the trip, however, he played down any such discord. ... China’s public diplomacy over Taiwan may be growing more refined, but it has suffered from the consequences of its actions at home, The New York Times’ Edward Wong suggested."

Xinhua Insight: Xi's visit a new dawn for China-ROK ties - "Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) could be the beginning of a new era in China-ROK relations. Agreements reached during his visit include deals for the launch of RMB clearance in Seoul, political and security cooperation, and expanded people-to-people exchanges. ... The visit has plotted a clear course for the future of relations, according to Wang Fan of the China Foreign Affairs University. Both sides will celebrate the Year of Chinese Tourism in ROK in 2015 and the Year of South Korean Tourism in China in 2016 and elevate personnel exchanges to 10 million in 2016. The two sides reached a consensus on waiving visas for service passport holders and decided to gradually expand visa-free coverage. 'People-to-people exchanges are already in a very good phase,' said Wang. 'These measures ensure the exchange will be continued.' Chinese and South Koreans made a record 8.22 million trips to each other's countries last year. More than 60,000 Chinese students are studying in ROK, which has the same number of students in China. The two countries also pledged cooperation in such areas as public diplomacy, culture, film production, panda research, protection of cultural heritage and hosting sports events. 'These agreements create a favorable atmosphere for deepening mutual understanding between the two nations,' said Wang." See also (1) (2).

Gov’t Reacts To Execution Of Ugandans In China - "In a statement released Tuesday, Mr Fred Opolot, Head Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

urges all Ugandan citizens travelling abroad to desist from criminal activities." Opolot image from entry

Indian Diplomats Conclude Study Tour to U.S. - "A team of three Indian diplomats sent to U.S. to enhance the understanding of most important and current public policy issues and to strengthen India-U.S. ties have concluded their month long trip. Sponsored by Asia Foundation, the team comprising of Ninad Deshpande, Under secretary (China) East Asia Division, Binoy George, Under secretary, Europe West Division and Sumit Seth, Undersecretary, External Publicity and Public Diplomacy, attended a two-week course, 'U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Era', at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, held from June 2 through June 13." See also.

EU Foreign Policy in the Arab World: Three (Bad) Examples - Marc Pierini, "[A] simple indication of the EU’s lack of equal interest in these three countries [Syria, Tunisia, Morocco] is the number of statements released by the EU’s foreign policy high representative, Catherine Ashton. From 2010 to 2013, Syria was the subject of 51 statements, Tunisia fifteen, and Morocco a mere five, indicating that the high representative’s attention is focused mostly on what is in the news. Clearly, seen from this public-diplomacy angle, EU foreign policy is far more reactive than normative."

Cabinet debates response to teens' abduction, murder [July 3] - "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the diplomatic security cabinet on Wednesday evening. This was the third time the cabinet has met since bodies of kidnapped teens Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel were discovered, but disagreement among the ministers about what course of action to take is holding up any decisions. As of Wednesday night, no decision to expand the current operation or to take additional military steps had been announced. Unofficially, spokespeople are claiming that the diplomatic echelon is requesting not to escalate the confrontation or initiate a response, but rather to concentrate on finding the terrorists who killed the three youths. The Prime Minister's Office Public Diplomacy Department has not announced any relevant details."

Israel campaigned on false hope to rally Diaspora support: Did the army and government cynically fuel the baseless narrative that the kidnapped boys were still alive, exploiting the families and Diaspora solidarity? - Daniella Peled, "As well as taking advantage of the horrific murder of three Israeli teenagers to torpedo the Palestinian unity government and cut a swathe through Hamas, Israel’s government also used them as a particularly shoddy way of shoring up the bond between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Israel needs to perpetuate the myth that the Jewish state is one family that grieves and celebrates together, despite its deep political, economic, ethnic and religious fractures. Diaspora unity, too, is a troubling creature. And so, although there was really no hope at all, an ersatz atmosphere of national hope and anticipation was fueled for nearly three weeks.

A willing Diaspora was recruited into the campaigning maelstrom, its members bombarded with calls for public action, hastily organizing prayer meetings; Israel’s London embassy offered help 'to raise awareness.' This awareness-raising seems to have become a means unto itself. The kidnaps, however ghoulishly, offered a nonpartisan issue for the Diaspora to rally around, inspiring a unity that most other Israel-related matters, like the peace process and Orthodox-Reform relations, signally fail to do. ... As much as they are being eulogized in the finest tradition of Israel’s historic martyrs – including settlements to be founded in their names — the teens were in fact noncombatants who never set out to be heroes of the Jewish nation. For the parents, being active participants in the search for their children through public campaigning and awareness-raising must have been of great help. But how much of this had anything to do with finding the three boys, whose fate was clearly known very soon after they were taken, I fail to understand. And there is something awfully distasteful about using this horror not only as an instrument of hasbara, or public diplomacy, but also for engineering Diaspora solidarity. ... Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is capitalizing on this horror to boost his public support. I guess that is what politicians do. But this cynicism in the name of Jewish unity, and in the name of the Diaspora, is sickening." See also .Image from entry, with caption: Israeli soldiers taking part in the search efforts for the kidnapped yeshiva students, June 15, 2014.

Israel Can Win Many Arabs to the Concept of the Jewish Homeland - Martin Sherman, "With much of the Arab world in disarray and enmeshed in internal turmoil, Israel must: ... [inter alia] Launch a $1 billion strategic public diplomacy offensive (1 percent of the state budget), focusing on delegitimizing the Palestinian narrative and highlighting the depravities of the Arab world, in general, and of Palestinian society, in particular, while contrasting them with the moral merits and scientific, technological and other accomplishments of Israel."

Activists aiming to steer Israeli government funding to non-Orthodox - Ben Sales, "'It's very important to strengthen the voice calling for pluralism from many directions,' said Mickey Gitzin, a first-term councilman from the left-wing Meretz party who provided municipal space for the all-night study program organized by the liberal prayer group Beit Tefilah Israeli. 'We let the right completely decide what our Judaism will be, and as soon as we fight for an open, pluralistic Judaism, we'll have more strength in the fight over Israel's identity.' ... Yesh Atid lawmaker Aliza Lavie, a member of the Knesset's Religion and State Caucus, said the core strength of liberal Jewish groups in Israel comes from grassroots activism, not government funding. 'It's supported from the ground up,' Lavie said. 'It didn't bloom in the Education Ministry or the Public Diplomacy Ministry. It came from a generation asking questions.'"

Cabinet Allocates 300 Million NIS for Eastern Yerushalayim - "It should be noted that in recent years there has been an upsurge in acts of violence and stone-throwing in the eastern part of the city. Pursuant to data provided by the Israel Police, in March-April 2014 alone, approximately 990 files were opened in the region for violent offenses including – inter alia – disturbing the peace, attacking police officers and robbery. It was also reported that there were approximately 390 incidents of stone-throwing at security forces, and civilian and security vehicles in the eastern part of the city, as well as dozens of cases of stolen vehicles and break-ins. These are offenses with nationalist characteristics that are not perpetrated in a similar scope in other parts of the country. These displays of violence are being perpetrated in the capital of the State of Israel, close to the holiest sites of the three major faiths, which have considerable tourist and public diplomacy significance and which draw pilgrims from around the world."

World Cup TV makes unlikely 'friends' of enemies in Egypt - Mark Baber, "Whilst some Egyptians will be watching the game on Al Jazeera's beIN Sports subscription service, which is out of the price range of most ordinary Egyptians, many have been adjusting their satellites dishes to be able to watch European and Israeli transmissions for free. Al Jazeera's pricing has been lambasted across the media, not just for excluding the poor from watching World Cup games, but also for representing a failure of public diplomacy, as the Qatar-owned channel has stirred up resentment amongst football fans, at the very moment the Gulf kingdom is under attack for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region, which has led to the imprisonment of three of its journalists in Egypt.

beIN Sports, is charging nearly LE1,000 (£82), more than the average weekly wage, for a football subscription package, whilst Israel is beaming the World Cup matches for free This situation has reportedly led the Egyptian Sports Writers Association to condemn an 'Al Jazeera conspiracy to force Arab nations to watch Zionist channels. ... Israeli prime ministerial spokesman Ofir Gendelman has welcomed Arab viewers to Israeli channels, but his comments have received a decidedly mixed response." Image from

Al-Sisi`s Nile Policy: What is New and What is Not? - "Following the ousting of Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, Essam Sharaf`s transitional government was quick to criticize the way Mubarak`s regime ‘treat upstream states of the Nile and lambast its Africa policy. The transitional prime minister further while sending a public diplomacy delegates to upstream states of the Nile pledge that the old era is gone and a new era is opened between the riparian states of the Nile and Egypt. As a good gesture and good neighborliness, the then Premier of Ethiopia the late Ato Melese Zenawi promised to delay the ratification of the Cooperative Framework Agreement on the Nile (CFA)-which is devised to establish a new Nile Basin based equality of all riparian states, until Egypt elects a stable and democratic government. This promise worked for Egypt and despite the public diplomacy delegates and the then Prime Minister Essam Sharaf promised a new era was opened, his successor Mohamed Morsi who was elected as a result of popular election slightly wining over Ahamed Shafiq who was the last Prime Minister of the Mubarak era was not strong and committed enough to continue the track. ... As repeatedly said ... the only solution for the Nile problem is dialogue and genuine cooperation which needs the true change of heart from Egypt not a tactical change to preserve a dying and obsolete zero-sum ‘regime’ on the Nile. Till that, what we have seeing and listening is no more than a mere change of tactic to buy time and appear cooperative while continuing the divide and rule policy."

Brazilian Cultural Diplomacy in Yerevan - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Football is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind in terms of Brazil and public diplomacy these days, but in Yerevan, the Brazilian Embassy had a different treat for the public: an evening of live music. According to the Brazilian Ambassador Edson Marinho Duarte Monteiro, the event on June 27 was part of a global series of Brazilian music concerts organized by the embassies around the world.

The 'Journey Through Brazilian Music' provided a quick historical overview of the 20th century, from early samba to bossa nova and carnival tunes. ... The event was certainly a major success in terms of cultural diplomacy. It was engaging and educational, the music and the presentation were simply amazing, everything was bright and colorful, and most importantly -- it was free and open to the public." Uncaptioned image from entry

Enhancing Brazil's National Image through Sport is Fraught with Difficulties - Rook Campbell, "[S]porting events can boost short-term and long-term tourism and trade. For Brazil, it is about keeping up with the global market place – the larger market, not just the sports market. Branded as a so-called BRIC economy alongside Russia, India, and China, Brazil wants to be seen as a strong and newly emerging international market player."

Marked improvement in SEA results - "Students who wrote the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) this year have shown a 'tremendous marked improvement' in their results. This was announced yesterday by Education Minister, Dr Tim Gopeesingh at the Bridging Borders Through Art 4th Annual prize-giving ceremony at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. ... The Bridging Borders Through Art competition is held annually by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to aid public diplomacy interests, and to raise awareness of global issues. This year’s theme was 'Climate Change and Sustainable Development'. The competition lasted from April 22 to May 29 of this year, with 382 entries being submitted, there were 56 more than the previous year. Gopeesingh commended the Foreign Affairs Ministry for encouraging social awareness through art, and said extra-curricular activities like Bridging Borders helps develop a well rounded student."

6/28 World War, Why? part 2 - "Throughout its history, the fundamental threat to western capitalism's survival has been and is now its class overthrow led by the working class with oppressed nations and peoples worldwide. Billion dollar 'strategic communications and public diplomacy' indoctrination from birth to grave can't trump this reality,as US defeats by national liberation resistance wars (aka 'terrorists', etc)."

American diplomacy and global challenges - Srinath Fernando, "American corporate franchising and public diplomacy [:] Coca-Cola is the world’s largest soft drink manufacture which commenced operations in 1886. The brand has captured the world consumers and was synonymous with American politics. It has also run into various social and political controversies.

Coca-Cola came to be the first American investment in Vietnam since the war and truly served to gauge mass opinion towards new American diplomacy. Coca-Cola engaged in track II diplomacy where public opinions are shaped in favour of America." Image from entry

Cultural Affairs Assistant Job at U.S. Consulate -- Lagos - "The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is seeking to employ a suitable and qualified candidate for the position of Cultural Affairs Assistant in the Public Affairs Section (PAS)."

Philip Seib’s new USC Annenberg post a reflection of his expertise: Noted scholar aims to ensure more common ground is shared by the schools of communication and journalism - "Philip Seib ... has been named vice dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. ... Seib joined the USC faculty in 2007. He serves as a professor of journalism and public diplomacy at USC Annenberg and professor of international relations at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is a past director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy."

Face of change at American Conservative Union: Matt Schlapp is ready to ruffle feathers - Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times: "Matt Schlapp, the new chairman of the American Conservative Union and its first born after the group’s founding a half-century ago, is moving quickly to put a uniquely 21st-century touch on one of the political right’s most sacred establishments. ... Like his predecessors, Mr. Schlapp has a reputation for public diplomacy and restraint, and he even sports a healthy head of silver hair (in his case somewhat prematurely for his age of 46)."

Phoenix Suns Free Agency: No matter what happens with LeBron the Suns have already won - Seth Pollack, "LeBron James is an unrestricted free agent and the Phoenix Suns are one of many teams who will be seeking his talents. ...  Sometimes you are the dog when it's underserved and sometimes you are the hero for doing the obvious. Smart organizations understand how to put their finger on that scale.

It's something the Suns have struggled with for many years but with this one leak* of relatively obvious news -- The Suns pursuit of LeBron shouldn't exactly be a surprise to anyone -- they've come out as winners even if LeBron's talents stay in South Beach. *I have no idea if this leak originated on Jefferson Ave. but I'd certainly like to think the revitalized Suns front office deserves credit for this shrewd bit of public diplomacy." James image from entry

Reflections on a Great American Public Diplomat - Nicholas Cull, "At a time when the news is full of lives lost before their time it sometimes seems unreasonable to be saddened by the passing of a man at the age of 97, but the community of public diplomacy scholars and practitioners should pause for a moment to mark the passing of the great American public diplomat Walter R. Roberts, on June 29, 2014. Born in Austria in 1916 when that country was in the midst of the Great War and educated at Cambridge University, Roberts was a member of the generation that pioneered U.S. public diplomacy. He was part of the Voice of America's German Service during World War Two and went on to serve in USIA in many roles including that of public affairs officer in Belgrade and of counselor for public affairs in Geneva.

After his retirement he served as staff director and lead writer on the panel on International Information, Educational and Cultural Affairs known after its chairman as the Stanton Panel. Working with the panel he advanced the idea that U.S. public diplomacy was inappropriately organized to face an emerging world of transnational problems. The panel proposed splitting U.S. public diplomacy by task and allowing separate units to tackle broadcasting and culture/exchange work and returning policy advocacy and the advisory function to the Department of State (following the structure of public diplomacy in the U.K. and elsewhere). The ultimate defeat of the Stanton proposals is one of the major missteps from which U.S. public diplomacy has been trying to recover ever since." Uncaptioned image from entry.

The legacy of Dick Scaife - Ed Feulner, [Tribune-Review owner and philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, whose vision and funding reinvigorated conservative politics in America, died Friday, July 4.] "A little-remembered role of Dick, the idea man and the implementer, was his service as a member of President Ronald Reagan's Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for eight years. I know the commitment that Dick made to these efforts because I served alongside him as a fellow volunteer on this governmental policy board. We traveled extensively, working with the United States Information Agency to promote American ideas and ideals around the world. We advocated editorials for the Voice of America because we believed that the message of America, whether led by a Republican or a Democrat, deserved to be told in a straightforward and upfront manner. Our commission met monthly with senior government officials. We talked about how private citizens could advance America's national objectives around the globe. And for those who claim that Dick Scaife

was somehow 'out of the political mainstream,' I remind them that Dick's membership on the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy included two Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings and two unanimous favorable Senate votes for confirmation of Scaife for membership on this elite advisory body. Dick's expertise with the print media and with broadcasting made his expertise particularly helpful as we encouraged the launching of Radio Marti, to broadcast news and views to the people of Cuba. He enthusiastically encouraged us to reach out to those audiences deprived of alternative sources of news and information around the world." Scaife image from


The American way of war: It may surprise you - Joseph J. Ellis, The recent decision to send 300 American troops back into Iraq reveals that even Obama does not get it. He apparently believes that the United States can overcome more than 1,000 years of history to transform the Middle East.

We can't, and we never could. Image from entry, with caption: Militants from the radical group ISIS are seen last week in Iraq celebrate their declaration of an Islamic state

Quarantine the Middle East - Philip Zelikow, New York Times: Across the Muslim world, this is an age of revolution beyond the experience of any official now living. Hundreds of thousands have died; millions more flee their homes. Now, the crisis in Iraq and Syria threatens to perpetuate chaos between Sunni and Shiite Muslim communities throughout the Middle East. Many in the region, craving modern governance and fearing fundamentalist or sectarian rule by force, still look for leadership from the United States. But our government seems reactive, off balance, lurching from headline to headline. A conscious, comprehensive new American strategy is needed. It should focus on effective self-rule as the goal across the region — rewarding it where it exists, and helping those areas withstand the maelstrom next to them. Quarantine the chaos, and immunize neighboring states that can serve as positive contrasts.

Five myths about the Islamic State - Daniel Byman, Washington Post: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has changed its name more often than a rock band. The Sunni extremist group that has fought in Syria and plotted attacks in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon has now upped the stakes, advancing through Iraq and declaring itself the Islamic State (IS). IS does pose a threat to Iraq and to regional stability. But the Obama administration should beware of swallowing the group’s propaganda or assuming that it will inevitably become stronger.

Let justice be served in Syria and Iraq - David Scheffer, Justice may appear to be the least likely survivor of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, but history teaches us that investigations and prosecutions of atrocities like those sweeping through these nations can still be achieved despite political obstacles.

Protecting privacy from U.S. spies - Editorial, Collecting intelligence about foreign terrorism is a national priority, but so

is abiding by the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Image from entry, with caption: A sign is seen outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.

Happy Birthday America! 4th of July Celebrations From Around the World - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Fourth of July celebrations

held by U.S. embassies throughout the world. Image from entry, with caption: Independence Day Celebration, June 26, 2014

New NATO center to counter Russia ’propaganda’ - Latvia on Thursday said it would open a NATO-backed strategic communications center in the capital Riga amid fears the Kremlin is influencing the Baltic state's large ethnic Russian minority over the Ukraine crisis. Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma on Thursday said Russia was waging an "information war" in Latvia, which joined NATO and the European Union in 2004.

Dmitry Kiselev Is Redefining the Art of Russian Propaganda: Nobody exploits basic human insecurity and fear quite like Putin's favorite TV host - Joshua Yaffa, On the evening of February 23, a little more than a day after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev in the middle of the night, ceding power to protesters on the Maidan, Dmitry Kiselev was in an especially apocalyptic mood. Kiselev is host of “Vesti Nedeli,” or “News of the Week,” which airs on Rossiya, a state-owned channel that reaches 90 percent of Russian households. Every Sunday for two hours, he holds forth on his many bugbears, phobias, and hatreds: the degenerate West, traitorous liberals at home. In recent months, the show had developed a near single-minded fixation on Ukraine—or as, Kiselev saw it, the fascist usurpers that had seized power in Kiev and were being propped up by the NATO machine. Since the Maidan protests, and especially after the fall of Yanukovych, Russian television has been engaged in a propaganda onslaught unprecedented in the post-Soviet era, implying or inventing dark suspicions about Western motives in Ukraine while painting Russia’s own meddling as a heroic answer to the call of justice. See also.

Islamist caliphate is propaganda but with deep political roots - Tarek Osman, The new caliphate that the Salafist jihadist group the Islamic State (IS) – formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – has announced is primarily a propaganda trick.

What is serious is that the group has established itself as a key force in the plains extending from eastern Syria to western Iraq, captured strategic oil infrastructure, secured significant financial resources, threatened a major Middle Eastern capital (Baghdad), and is bent on enlarging its footprint. Image from entry

Chinese Propagandists Caught In Blatant Photoshop Fail - Joe Weisenthal, "There were huge pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong this week, and as we already noted, state media in China reacted pretty awkwardly, describing the event as a big chance for everyone to exercise and have a jolly old time. That wasn't the only hilarious response to the protests, however. The media also tried to depict a massive pro-mainland demonstration. Except as internet sleuths quickly observed (via @cloudyip) the propagandists failed Photoshop 101.

This was supposedly a photo of a 500,000 strong pro-mainland protest, except even in a tiny crowd, you can see the same faces used multiple times. Image from entry

Every Kid Should Know This - "The propaganda and informational posters in the Soviet state were a popular form of art and targeted different slices of society. You come to a factory where workers work and see the 'Don’t steal from the factory!' or 'Be careful with machinery!' posters around. You go out on the streets – you see different sorts of posters. Then when you enter a school for kids you get to see posters too, now these ones are targeted towards children. So what did kids have to know according to the propaganda masters of the State? Here is, among other posters, what:

“Become a worthy son of your Motherland”

World War II Propaganda and Titanic Letter. London Auctions - The impressive John Palmer collection of World War I and World War II Propaganda Forgeries and Parody material, issued mostly by Great Britain, Germany, the USA and Russia as

image003 World War II Propaganda and Titanic Letter. London Auctions

well as very rare items relating to the Isle of Man ‘Knockaloe Internment Camp’ with a range of the ‘stamps’ and postcards will be offered at auction by Stanley Gibbons on 30th and 31st July 2014. Image from entry

Deconstructing Edward Bernays’ ‘Propaganda’ (Part 12) - Guy Evans, Who decides what is and isn’t important? Who creates the demand for a particular product or service? What is the public’s role in this process? In Chapter 10 of Edward Bernays’ seminal text ‘Propaganda’, the “Father of PR’ outlines his contention that the mechanism of propaganda must be used to ‘accustom the public to change and progress.” In a short but insightful chapter, Bernays states that propaganda helps to establish what is beautiful, valuable, and desirable, specifically using the marketing of Art galleries as his example.

OXM presents: Propaganda posters for the console war: Because this is all such serious business, obviously - John Hicks, Following a long period of relative stability, last year saw the console war blossom anew. People have pledged fealty to Xbox or That Other One and engaged in long, acrimonious battles in comment threads and YouTube videos, insistent that their choice is the only right and true one. It's all a bit daft, of course, and while our allegiance is a foregone conclusion we try not to be too confrontational about it.

The heads of the respective companies do their part too, with Xbox head Phil Spencer happy to commend Sony, and opposite number Shuhei Yoshida quite complimentary in return. But let's be honest, that's no fun. So we thought we'd commemorate hostilities with some propaganda posters, as drawn up by the highly talented Marsh Davies. Image from entry


From Photos: Soviet Shuttle Dreams To Dust


The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S. - Chris Matthews, Fortune: A new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year. Of course, it’s not all bad news, as the study also found the least corrupt states too. Citizens of these states–Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Vermont, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Kansas–can take solace in the fact that they’re not getting ripped off as badly as the rest of us.


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