Thursday, May 30, 2019

Indian Diplomacy during the Kargil War

Debak Das, South Asian Voices, May 29, 2019

The Kargil [JB - see] war marked a significant shift for Indian diplomacy at both the domestic and international levels. By the third week of May 1999, it was clear that India would have to engage in military operations to clear the infiltrators from the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC). The challenge was to do this in a manner that saw India remain legitimate and gain support from both the domestic and international audience. India’s success in the Kargil war was a result of its successful combination of diplomacy and the use of force.
At the domestic level the Indian government, particularly the military, engaged in public diplomacy [JB emphasis] embracing the TV with the aim of controlling the narrative and rallying citizens together. At the international level, India sought to ensure that it was seen as a victim of Pakistan’s aggression and was acting purely in self-defense. More importantly, in the aftermath of the 1998 tests, India sought to ensure that it did not lose further standing in the international community. While India achieved considerable successes in both these endeavors, twenty years on, some of these lessons from these successes may have been forgotten as India backslides into ad hoc public and international crisis diplomacy.
Public Diplomacy
Kargil was India’s first television war. For the first time on Indian television, journalists reported from the frontline and images from the war saturated TV screens. This rallied public opinion in favor of Indian action. Among other things, this manifested in blood donations to the Indian Red Cross Society in New Delhi—which tripled during the war. Additionally, donations to soldiers’ welfare funds increased exponentially—while movie stars and cricketers did this publicly, school children across the country collected money to donate to these funds. Images of wounded soldiers, coffins, and bereaved families created awareness and solidarity. Furthermore, the use of the media was seen as a “force multiplier” for the Indian armed forces—it boosted morale of Indian soldiers in the frontlines.1

The Indian government aimed to capitalize on this dynamic by engaging with the media more and controlling the information in circulation to its advantage. To this end, routine media briefings by the Ministry of Defense were upgraded by the end of May to daily briefings conducted jointly by Indian Army, Air Force, and Ministry of External Affairs spokespersons.2 However, this was an ad hoc arrangement and not an institutionalized one.
Pakistan was enabled to portray Indian censorship as “fear of the truth”—an ill-considered policy that cast India in negative light.
Despite the ostensible success of Indian government in managing the narrative during the Kargil war, there were some shortcomings. The Kargil Review Committee Report (chaired by K. Subrahmanyam) stated that with regard to information policy and media relations, India did “fairly well in some respects, but not well enough.”3 The report highlighted that there was no media cell to assist reporters and that few of the journalists at the front had any training in war reporting.4Furthermore, the report criticized the Indian ban on cable operators showing Pakistani TV and access to the Dawn newspaper’s website on the internet. This enabled the Pakistan to portray Indian censorship as “fear of the ‘truth’”—an ill-considered policy that cast India in negative light.5 Ultimately, even though India successfully made use of public diplomacy at this scale for the first time in 1999, there remained critical issues to be addressed and the Kargil Review Committee rightly pointed that out. However, two decades on, it is not clear if these lessons were learnt by the Indian government.
International Diplomacy
India’s biggest success during the Kargil war was in the realm of international diplomacy. In the aftermath of the 1998 nuclear tests India was under sanctions—the UN security council resolution 1172 had condemned its actions, and multilateral and bilateral sanctions had India on the back foot when 1999 came around. It was in this context that India decided to not cross the Line of Control (LoC). It needed international opinion to be in its favor—much like the support of the domestic audience, the support of the international community was seen to be a potential “major force multiplier.”6
As General V.P. Malik highlights in his book India’s Military Conflicts and Diplomacy, India’s goals with regard to the international community were:
  1. To convince the world that India was a victim of Pakistan’s aggression—the latter had violated the Simla Agreement.
  2. Demonstrate that the infiltrators were not militants but Pakistani Army regulars.
  3. Demonstrate ‘responsibility and restraint’ as a nuclear power that had recently caused a setback to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.7
These goals were achieved by the Indian diplomatic corps and enabled by India’s restraint from crossing the LoC. By the end of June, the U.S. government, the European Union, and the G-8 all threatened sanctions on Pakistan if it did not withdraw to its side of the LoC.8 International pressure was building up. Even Pakistan’s traditional allies in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) chose to water down its resolutions against India. When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to Washington, D.C. to meet President Bill Clinton on July 4, 1999, there was no international ally for Pakistan to turn to. As General Pervez Musharraf later admitted in his book In the Line of Fire, India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan diplomatically had worked and created a “demoralizing effect on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”9 Sharif would eventually cave to Clinton’s pressure thus bringing the war to an end. Until the end of the negotiations, the U.S. State Department kept the Indian government in the loop—marking a shift from earlier India-U.S. relations during India-Pakistan conflicts.10 Indian military successes in Kargil notwithstanding, Indian diplomacy scored a clear win during this conflict.
The legacy of the success of Indian diplomacy during Kargil is mixed. The main legacy of Indian diplomacy is the positive turn in Indo-U.S. relations. The Kargil war marked the first instance in the history of South Asian conflicts that the United States strongly supported India. It lay the foundation of the current United States-India relationship by leading to the Strobe Talbott-Jaswant Singh talks that eventually culminated in the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal almost a decade later. Furthermore, in subsequent conflicts too, India was able to bear international pressure down on Pakistan—particularly in the aftermath of the 2001 Parliament attacks and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. This was a legacy of diplomatic precedent set during Kargil.
The Kargil war marked the first instance in the history of South Asian conflicts that the United States strongly supported India.
On the flip side however, there was no institutionalization of the process. The shift towards the use of ad hoc force instead of diplomatic means in recent conflicts with Pakistan demonstrate the lack of permanence of the lessons of Kargil. This is particularly evident in the context of public diplomacy. In subsequent crises—the most recent one after the Pulwama terror attack—the Indian government and armed forces appeared to be scattered and unable to produce a coherent and transparent narrative for public and international consumption. This is a far cry from the successful public diplomacy during the Kargil war. The Kargil Review Committee Report’s suggestion of a media cell to assist reporters with packets of information and coordinate crisis reporting was not taken up, leading to ad hoc uninstitutionalized nature of public information dissemination.

Twenty years later after Kargil, India needs to revisit the finer points of its diplomatic successes at both the domestic and international level. The main lesson for strategists from 1999 is that the effective use of force must be accompanied by diplomacy to attain concrete political goals. Given the low ebb in the relations between India and Pakistan at the moment—coupled with greater Indian willingness to use force—it is important for the Indian government to learn from Kargil, and lay out specific political goals and use diplomatic means to attain them. This needs to be in the form of an institutionalized agenda to put diplomacy first and the ad hoc show of strength second. 
Editor’s Note: This piece is part of an SAV series on the enduring debates and legacies of the Kargil conflict twenty years later. Read the series here.
  1. Satish Chandra Tyagi, The Fourth Estate: A Force Multiplier for the Indian Army, (with the Specific Backdrop of Kargil Battle) (New Delhi: Gyan Pub. House, 2005), 21. 
  2. Kargil Review Committee, From Surprise to Reckoning: The Kargil Review Committee Report, New Delhi, December 15, 1999 (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2000), 216. 
  3. Kargil Review Committee, 215. 
  4. Kargil Review Committee, 215. 
  5. Kargil Review Committee, 218. 
  6. V. P Malik, India’s Military Conflicts and Diplomacy: An inside View of Decision Making (Noida: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2013), 127. 
  7. Malik, 127. 
  8. Lowell Dittmer, South Asia’s Nuclear Security Dilemma: India, Pakistan, and China (Taylor & Francis Group, 2004), 145. 
  9. Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir(New York: Free Press, 2006), 93. 
  10. Bruce Riedel, “American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House,” Policy Paper Series (Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, 2002). 
Debak Das

Debak Das

Debak Das is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Department of Government, Cornell University. His doctoral dissertation examines how regional powers build their nuclear force structures. This research is based on extensive fieldwork in India, the United Kingdom, and France. Debak is also interested in historical archives, public opinion and foreign policy, and South Asian politics. He received his M.Phil in Diplomacy and Disarmament, and his M.A. in Politics and International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He also holds a B.A. (Honors) in History from Presidency College, Kolkata. Debak has formerly held research positions at Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, New Delhi. In 2019-20, Debak will be a MacArthur Nuclear Security Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University.

View Vacancy - Political and Press Officer (AZE19.735)
image (not from entry) from

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer. We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.

Job Category
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Policy & Political roles)

Job Subcategory
Communications, Press and Media

Job Description (Roles and Responsibilities)
The British Embassy in Azerbaijan is part of a world-wide network, representing British political, economic and consular interests overseas and is now looking for a permanent, full-time Political and Press Officer based in Baku.

Main Purpose of Job is to communicate with Azerbaijan’s media and population in pursuit of HMG objectives.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:
Press and Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis]
  • Develop and implement a communications strategy to secure high profile, positive media coverage of British Embassy activity. This will include sourcing content for the British Embassy website and social media, and identifying and maximizing opportunities for media engagement; 
  • Develop and maintain strong working relations in order to ensure the Embassy has a strong media profile; 
  • Lead on drafting press lines and other official communication; 
  • Organise and manage interviews;
  • For high level visits prepare and manage media plans
  • Provide twice-weekly press summaries.
Public Diplomacy
  • Responsible for the Embassy’s public diplomacy work;
  • Oversight of public diplomacy budget;
  • Working with partners e.g. the British Council, UK Alumnus and project implementers to maximise public diplomacy projects;
  • Responsible for the Embassy online presence - website, Facebook and twitter
  • To keep the Embassy informed of current affairs in Azerbaijan through circulation of key articles, reports and commentaries; 
  • Lead on human rights and media related reporting;
  • Monitor high-profile trials, political prisoners and political demonstrations;
  • Member of the Embassy’s project evaluation board;
  • Providing translation in high-level meetings;
  • Cover Political/Projects and Political/Economic officers during absences;
  • Plus all reasonable duties as directed by Embassy management.
Essential qualifications, skills and experience
  • Excellent command of English and Azerbaijani languages (verbal and written)
  • A track record of successful communication including developing communication strategies and lines to take and the ability to use media contacts and social media to share UK messages with a wide reach.
  • Experience monitoring, analysing and reporting on political developments
  • Experience of producing clear written reports in English
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Projects a professional image and builds contacts and networks to help get the job done. Able to speak confidently with political and other experts to present UK positions and extract information for Embassy reporting.
  • Think strategically and be able to identify opportunities for UK interventions and activity – including project work – to help achieve our objectives
  • A team player, ready to help colleagues and share knowledge willingly
  • Strong IT skills, in particular all main social media platforms, Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel
Desirable qualifications, skills and experience
  • Availability to travel occasionally within Azerbaijan or internationally as needed
  • Good verbal Russian skills
Required competencies
Seeing the Big Picture, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Managing a Quality Service

Application deadline
12 June 2019

B3 (L)

Type of Position
Full-time, Permanent

Working hours per week

Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia


Location (City)

Type of Post
British Embassy

Number of vacancies

Starting monthly salary (USD)

Start Date
29 July 2019

Other benefits and conditions of employment
This is a permanent full-time position of five working days, 35 hours net per week.

The salary is USD 2,037.52 gross per month and shall be paid in AZN monthly.

Staff recruited locally by the British Embassy in Azerbaijan is subject to Terms and Conditions of Service of the FCO according to local labour legislation.

All applicants should have the right to live and work in Azerbaijan. The British Embassy does not sponsor, nor does it provide assistance for obtaining work & resident permits.

Additional information
Please note that the deadline for applications is 23:55 on the day mentioned in the above field “Application deadline”.

We advise you to allow enough time to complete and submit your full application, since only applications completed and submitted before the deadline will be considered.

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Please be aware that you will only be able to apply to vacancies for Local Staff roles with the British Government through this official site (operated by Oleeo). Jobs may be advertised on third party websites, however our adverts will always link back to the official site. If you complete and send an application through any other site, we will not receive it.


Permitting aggressive tactics in the South China Sea is in no one’s interests

Michael Shoebridge, The Strategist, 30 May 2019; original article contains links

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Canberra, we have a problem. It’s the public diplomacy [JB emphasis] around Australia’s relationship with the Chinese state—in particular, the People’s Liberation Army and the civilian and militia elements that operate with it in the South China Sea.

The Royal Australian Navy has just finished its largest task force deployment in recent years, called Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019. Four RAN ships visited 13 ports in seven countries and covered approximately 16,000 nautical miles. The naval flotilla, which embarked air force and army personnel, together with Seahawk, MRH-90 troop transport and Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters, travelled from Sri Lanka right through Southeast Asia and into the South China Sea.

A ream of ‘public affairs’ material was produced for Australian and international media over the three- month deployment—more than 800 images, 100 articles and 40 videos covering a range of activities including disaster assistance planning, community engagement, multinational naval manoeuvres and military training with regional partners in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

No doubt, the deployment achieved much good in deepening Australia’s relationships in the region. It’s been a fine exercise in regional presence and showcasing of Australian capability, along with building the capacity to work closely with regional militaries in an increasingly difficult part of the world. Let this deployment become the new normal and be part of a persistent operational presence working closely with regional partners’ forces.

But in all the words and images that were produced by what was apparently the largest public affairs team ever deployed on a RAN ship, there was not a word about one of the biggest things that happened during the three months at sea: the crews of fishing vessels used lasers against Australian helicopter pilots operating in international waters in the South China Sea, causing them to have to land their aircraft for precautionary reasons.

That’s a dangerous set of acts against Australian service personnel. Affecting the vision of helicopter pilots in the difficult environment that defines seaborne operations exposes them to additional risks. ...

What I don’t get about the way this has been handled to date is whose interests it serves to hide what happens when Australian service personnel operate lawfully in the waters of the South China Sea.

I know it’s in the interests of the Chinese state to have those subject to its aggressive behaviour keep silent—that helps portray those who do speak up, notably the US, as isolated on this issue.

However, part of the rationale for the task force going through the South China Sea is to affirm international law and maintain free international waterways. That’s necessary because of the aggressive militarisation of that body of water by Chinese forces in recent years.

Clearly, working with the Vietnamese navy in the South China Sea was part of this—and according to Euan Graham, again, this required the task force to go out of its way to include Vietnam in the activity.

But to have the strategic communications effect that you would hope would be at the heart of the deployment, it seems essential to publicise the aggressive and dangerous behaviour of these fishing vessels—and to make every effort to identify the nation operating them so that the incidents can be raised formally to prevent a recurrence.

I would be surprised if imagery and other information from the deployment at the time of the incidents can’t show this right now.

Pretending that none of this happened, and that it was an entirely problem-free and friendly time in the South China Sea, is self-defeating. It leaves the Australian public out of the loop when it comes to the risks our service personnel are running to preserve freedom of navigation and push back against aggressive on-water tactics that are licensed by the highest level of national leadership in China.

It also downplays the commitment of our defence force in protecting national and international interests in the security and openness of the waters of our region.

Lastly, this episode raises questions about what else might have happened on this deployment, and whether there were any other actions by Chinese fishing vessels—or militia, coastguard, aircraft or even PLA Navy vessels themselves—that we have yet to hear about. Maybe there are other ways they said g’day.

Michael Shoebridge is director of the defence and strategy program at ASPI. Image courtesy of the Department of Defence.

Europe’s Deep Reservoir of Goodwill in the Middle East: Lessons for Public Diplomacy
 [JB note: I was not able to identify the author of this article]

The MENA and Southeast Asia have undergone and continue to undergo massive political transitions. Differences in the process and outcomes of their transitions can be viewed through the lens of a “civil society infrastructure.” This essay series explores the roles and impact of civil society organizations (CSOs) in these two regions during the transition and pre-transition periods as well as in instances where the political transition is completed. Read more ...

Political and economic transitions are seldom, if ever, compartmentalized processes, insulated from regional and global influences. On the contrary, they are often informed and shaped by exogenous forces and the policies of external actors, including states and international organizations. How can external actors develop interventions that are more likely to be well received and thus support transitions to democracy?
Last fall I took part in a conference on “Europe and the Middle East & North Africa: Building Bridges, Mapping the Future”[1] hosted by the Kuwait Program at SciencesPo in Paris. In his keynote speech, Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) founder and Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salamé posed the question, “Is the ‘Europe-MENA’ strategic bond a myth?” The conference raised questions about internationalism and yielded important insights about the importance and practice of public diplomacy [JB emphasis].
My contribution at the conference was to speak about public opinion examining the view of Europe from the Arab world. Based on surveys conducted by the Arab Barometer[2] and the Transitional Governance Project[3], I found that there is a deep reservoir of goodwill in Arab countries toward Europe. In all eight Arab countries in which questions about Europe had been asked, citizens regarded the European Union more positively than almost every other country or bloc, including the US. This surprising finding holds important lessons for the public diplomacy benefits of promoting internationalism and the costs of unwanted interventionism.

Survey Data on Attitudes toward Europe

Surprisingly, few survey questions exist to might offer insights into how Arab citizens see Europe in relation to other regions. Questions about views of Europe were included in a nationally representative survey of 1200 Libyans I conducted with Ellen Lust and JMW Consulting in 2013 as part of the Transitional Governance Project with funding from the National Democratic Institute. The Arab Barometer also asked questions about Europe in Wave 4, a series of surveys conducted in 2016 among nationally-representative samples in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. And Wave 3, which was conducted in Algeria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, between 2012 and 2014, asked important questions about the types of US engagement Sudan, Iraq, Libya, and Kuwait, citizens welcomed. These surveys provide some of the few clues available concerning how Arab citizens see Europe in relation to other countries and international organizations.

Libya: The Post Arab Spring Environment

In Libya in 2013, as part of the Transitional Governance Project, we asked citizens to state whether they would like to cooperate closely with different international organizations to achieve economic development in their country (Figure 1). Libyan citizens held more positive views toward the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) than any other international organization included in the questionnaire. Eighty-seven percent of Libyans stated that they wanted to cooperate closely with OPEC. Citizens also saw cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations as highly desirable, with 83 and 82 percent holding this view, respectively.
Libyans held warmer views of France and Italy than Russia and Qatar (Figure 2). Seventy-two percent of Libyans saw France in a positive light, while 70 percent saw Italy in this way. Libyans also held positive views of the US (69 percent), despite its central role in the NATO intervention. Similarly, 68 percent had a positive view of the UK and 67 percent toward Turkey. Only 48 percent held a positive view of Qatar and 39 percent did in the case of Russia, the least popular actor.
Lindsay Benstead Figure 1Libyans saw other regional organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in a less positive light. Seventy-one percent regarded the Arab League in positive terms, compared to 65 percent for NATO and 61 percent for the African Union. The latter is perhaps not surprising, given that NATO had recently intervened in Libya’s civil war by enforcing a no-fly zone. The US-led NATO intervention in Libya was welcomed by many Libyans at the time, though certainly not by all. This was reflective of the early optimism both among Libyans as well as internationally about the prospects for transition to democracy. As of 2013, 81 percent of Libyans were optimistic or very optimistic about the future of their country,[4] while only 19 were pessimistic. This optimism was already beginning to fade by 2014 when the Arab Barometer was fielded in Libya.
Lindsay Benstead Figure 2

Attitudes toward Europe across the Arab World

The Arab Barometer asked nationally-representative samples of Arab citizens in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia in 2016 whether they wanted their economic relationships with other countries to become stronger, remain the same, or become weaker. In these seven Arab countries, attitudes toward economic ties with the European Union were overwhelmingly positive with 55 percent of citizens in all of these countries wanting stronger ties, 28 percent wanting similar ties, and 17 percent wanting weaker ties (Figure 3). Only Saudi Arabia had a warmer perception than the EU with 59 percent of Arab citizens wanting stronger ties, 23 percent wanting similar ties, and 18 percent wanting weaker ties. Views of Turkey were also favorable with 52 percent of citizens in all of these countries wanting stronger ties, 25 percent wanting similar ties, and 23 percent wanting weaker ties.
The US and Russia, in contrast, were seen as less appealing economic partners than Saudi Arabia, the EU, and Turkey. This is striking for American policymakers. Only 48 percent of Arab citizens wanted stronger ties with the US, just two percent higher than for Russia, at 46 percent.
Lindsay Benstead Figure 3Yet attitudes across the seven Arab countries varied dramatically (Figure 4). The most favorable views of the EU were in Morocco and Tunisia, while the least favorable were in Algeria, which was colonized by France for 130 years. Fully 82 percent of Tunisians and 72 percent of Moroccans desired stronger ties with the EU while about half of all Palestinians, Lebanese, and Jordanians did. Only 42 percent of Egyptians and 40 percent of Algerians would like to see stronger economic ties with Europe.
Lindsay Benstead Figure 4The positive views that Tunisians hold toward Europe are striking given that Europe, and France in particular, supported the Ben ‘Ali regime. But European countries have generally had strong productive relationships of trade and tourism and no European country has generally directly intervened in either country since their independence from France.
The negative views of Europe among Algerians also stand out. Many Algerians see France as the fifth column[5] in their domestic politics. And colonial wounds have not healed. Even though President Macron[6] has taken more concrete steps than any other French president to confront the difficult colonial past — and even though he recently admitted that France tortured and executed members of the Algerian resistance during Algeria’s revolutionary war — France has yet to apologize for colonizing the country.
Egyptians also held fairly negative views of Europe, while Libyans held a positive view of their former colonizer, Italy, according to the Transitional Governance Project. The negative views that Egyptians hold of the EU is striking and merits further exploration. It is perhaps indicative of the differences between European and Egyptian leaders, as well as other Arab leaders,[7] on human rights, democracy, and press freedom.

Tailoring Engagement Strategies through Public Diplomacy

Whether in Egypt or elsewhere in the region, it is critical to assess public opinion when developing a strategy to improve international relations and to support meaningful political and economic change,[8] which many see as essential to achieving long-term stability in the region.
According to the Arab Barometer, Egyptians are among the least likely to desire US support for development in their country (Figure 4). In 2016, 62 percent did not want the US to intervene, while 15 percent wanted assistance to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict and 13 percent wanted support for other objectives, which included economic development (7 percent), women’s rights (2 percent), and promote democracy (4 percent). This contrasts with much lower, though not insignificant, levels of opposition to support with development objectives in Jordan (35 percent), Morocco (31 percent), and Kuwait (28 percent). Importantly, in some countries, citizens are more interested in support for peacemaking in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, and, Jordan), while in others, economic development, democracy promotion, and women’s rights are more important (Libya, Tunisia, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Kuwait).
Figure 5. Desired U.S. Assistance
Lindsay Benstead Figure 5
Source: Arab Barometer, Wave 3-4. (Not asked in Wave 1-2).
Question wording: “What is the most positive policy that the US can follow in our region? Promote democracy; Promote economic development; Contain Iran; Solve the Arab-Israeli Conflict; Promote women’s rights; The US shouldn’t interfere.” (‘Other forms of assistance’ includes Promote democracy; Promote economic development; Contain Iran; and, Promote women’s rights).


Available data suggest that to a greater extent than toward the US, there is a reservoir of goodwill in the Arab world toward Europe, highlighting the benefits of Europe’s internationalism. Goodwill toward Europe appears to be deeper in countries with limited, unwanted interference in Arab politics.
The diversity in responses across countries (and time) in terms of whether support is wanted and what types of engagement are welcome underscores the importance of efforts to inform foreign policy and direct diplomacy with public diplomacy—listening to citizens through person-to-person initiatives and consulting public opinion surveys. Other less politicized forms of engagement, including educational exchange and trade and investment, may need to be priorities in countries such as Egypt where efforts to directly strengthen democracy, freedom of expression, and women’s rights are viewed as unwanted interference by a larger segment of the population. Taking positive steps toward addressing colonial legacies, listening, and engaging constructively through economic ties and education exchanges are also critical.
If extra-regional contributions to democratic consolidation are to be meaningful and effective, then the population must be receptive. And the types of support that the population desires must be taken into account. Engagement must be complemented by more than mere acquiescence by the local population, but by an active effort to listen to and offer the forms of assistance and support that are seen as helpful by Arab citizens. Effective public diplomacy should improve goodwill, and it will also likely support more effective foreign policy.

[1] “2018 Conference on Europe and the Middle East & North Africa: Building Bridges, Mapping the Future,” SciencesPo Kuwait Program, October 3-5, 2018,
[3] Transitional Governance Project,
[4] Lindsay Benstead, Ellen M. Lust, and Jakob Wichmann, “It’s Morning in Libya: Why Democracy Marches On,” Foreign Affairs, August 6, 2013,
[5] “Why France won’t officially apologize for its crimes in Algeria?” Quora,
[6] “Macron rights a historical wrong in admitting French torture in Algeria,” France 24, May 13, 2019,
[7] David M. Herszenhorn, “EU, Arab leaders draw lines in the sand,” Politico, February 25, 2019,
[8] Adel Abdel Ghafar, “Egypt’s long-term stability and the role of the European Union,” Brookings Institution, March 1, 2018,

China deepens cooperation with Antigua-Barbuda, offers over 100 educational programmes, 5/27/2109

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(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) St. Johns, Antigua Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne welcomed Sun Ang, the newly appointed ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Antigua and Barbuda, and praised the excellent relationship that has developed between the two countries over the past 36 years.

China has been very benevolent to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda and has contributed significantly to the social and economic development of our country. The relationship is very important to us, in fact, it is easily one of the most important developmental partnership, Browne stated.

I am very happy that two countries located in two different hemispheres, two countries that have a significant number of asymmetries in terms of size of population and financial resources, could have such a close and fruitful relationship. I believe this is based on the relationship we have cultivated over the years and the mutual trust and respect that we have shown for each, he said.

Browne also noted that he is certain that Ang will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors in continuing to strengthen the bonds of friendship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People Republic of China.

Ang, in responding to Browne outlined that China places great importance to the relationship between the two countries. We think that no matter the size of each country, we respect each country as a member of the international community, he said.

In recent years, under your leadership, our countries have maintained the momentum of developing the relations further. China appreciates the positions that you and your government have taken in support of the policies of China, including China's calls for peaceful resolution to conflicts. The construction of our Embassy here in Antigua and Barbuda is a reflection of our good relations. It is also a foundation for our future cooperation, Ang said.

Ang also announced that as a sign of the development of the relationship, the Chinese government will sign an agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda for the waiver of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and official passports.

In a quest to promote capacity building and cultural exchanges, the government of the People's Republic of China has joined with the Antigua and Barbuda government in offering over 100 programmes for Antiguans and Barbudans to pursue Masters and Doctoral studies in English in universities in the People's Republic of China.

The programme is handled by the prime minister's scholarship programme in collaboration with the ministry of foreign affairs and is opened to all qualified Antiguans and Barbudans and covers tuition fees, living expenses and international travel expenses along with a stipend.

The prime minister's scholarship committee announced that the scholarships are being offered in two categories: special planned programme which is offered by the Chinese Scholarship Council and offers programmes from 26 universities to include Peking University, Renmin University of China, Beijing Jiao Tong University, Fudan University and Tongji University. Deadline for this programme is May 31.

Some of the programmes offered include Finance, Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning Studies, Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Pure Mathematics, Chemical Engineering and Technology and e-Government.

The second initiative is offered under a direct enrolment system, whereby 38 programmes are being offered from 33 universities. This programme which has an application deadline of July 12, offers Masters and Doctoral degrees in a number of disciplines to include Education, Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis], Tourism and Hotel Management, Public Health, Mechanical Engineering and Meteorology.

The Chinese ambassador, in pledging to continue to develop the relations between the two countries, also commended Browne for being a good friend of China and for his continued defense of complementarity and respect for each country's right to chart its own development.

Your stance is appreciated by the Chinese government and people, prime minister, he said.