"[N]ever tell a lie which can be discovered.”
--Advice from a WWII the Allied Headquarters manual preparing for D-Day
"Propaganda is a euphemism for lies; public diplomacy is a euphemism for propaganda; truth is a euphemism for ignorance."
--A valued PDPBR subscriber, evidently in a bad mood; image from
A) U.S. AND RUSSIAN RELATIONS [regarding soft power and public diplomacy as it pertains to both countries] Alfa Fellowship Program: Speakers: Jason Jarrell, moderator of the event and President of the Alfa Fellowship Alumni Association; John Brown, Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown University, former diplomat, consultant for the "Open World" program; Jill Dougherty, Foreign affairs correspondent for CNN; Yelena Osipova Ph.D., Candidate in International Relations at the School of International Service, American University, blogger on public diplomacy and international affairs." See also; image from entry
B) North Korea's 5-Girl Pop Band Pushes Short-SkirtPropaganda On The People - Geoffrey Ingersoll, businessinsider.com: "North Korea's girl band The Moranbong Girls aren't going to rival South Korean K-Pop anytime soon, but they're still briefly entertaining to watch ... in a somewhat dark, hermit kingdomy type way. Their hits include: "Do prosper, the age of the workers party!" — "Let's Study" — and "If the mother party wishes ... "
US Outlines Efforts to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trafficking - Mina Fabulous, newsblaze.com: "To address the issue of wildlife trafficking, the
Wildlife Conservation Day.
Cross-cultural Communication through the Meet Us Program - James Peranteau, myamerica.be: "Before starting my internship at the U.S. Mission to Belgium, I had never heard of the Meet US Program, nor did I have any idea of what it was. Now, nearing the end of my internship, I realize that the Meet US Program is a great aspect of our youth engagement at the U.S. Embassy, as it provides a unique opportunity for Belgian youths to get a better sense of American lifestyle and culture. The concept of the Meet US Program is to provide Belgian secondary students with a better idea of who Americans are. Oftentimes, due to the global proliferation of American media, stereotypes are developed from the ‘American image’ of popular TV shows, films, and music. For example, during the question and answer section, Belgian students frequently asked me if American high school life is true to the popular image portrayals displayed in shows like Gossip Girl, Glee, or High School Musical.
As anyone who grew up in the United States will tell you, American high school life isn’t nearly as dramatic as these shows make it out to be; one of the key points of the Meet US Program is to break these stereotypes by exemplifying American diversity and describing American history, politics, and values. The Public Affairs section of the US Embassy in Brussels coordinates this program by receiving requests from the schools, recruiting speakers to give the presentation, and providing all logistics. One interesting aspect about the program is that schools can request preferred discussion topics to suit the preferences of their students. Oftentimes the presentations are centered on American lifestyle and general culture, but they can be specialized to include more detailed information, such as educational opportunities for Belgians in the United States. In addition, this program is offered at absolutely no cost to the participating school. The point of the Meet US Program is to provide an open and direct dialogue between the guest speaker and the students. The guest speaker can be any American working here in Brussels, ranging from interns like myself, EducationUSA Staff, Foreign Service Officers on post in Brussels, and even Ambassador Howard Gutman himself, who recently welcomed approximately 60 Belgian students into his home to host an afternoon Meet US Program. ... For more information about the Meet US Program, as well as a form to submit a request for a speaker, please consult the following link: http://www.myamerica.be/meet-us-program/" Image from entry
Department Of State Public Schedule Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - U.S. Department of State, posted at rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 12:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends the National Democratic Institute’s annual Madeleine K. Albright Women's Luncheon in Washington, D.C.6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends an 'Evening with Geena Davis' hosted by former Senator Chris Dodd and the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington, DC."
After death, young diplomat's 'go-to bag' carries memories: Anne Smedinghoff was killed in Afghanistan, but her bag made it home to her parents - Jennifer Delgado, Chicago Tribune: "A gentle nudge from a friend taking the foreign service exam during her senior year of college encouraged Anne to think of a career as a diplomat. At the time, the international studies major was mulling her future and its long list of possibilities. Her friend opted for the Peace Corps, but Anne stuck with the foreign service test. She passed the written portion. Next came a series of essays followed by a grueling all-day interview in spring 2009. ... [S]he longed to work with the press in places more vital to U.S. foreign policy. She had heard that public diplomacy officers at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul dealt with international and Afghan media. That, coupled with learning an entirely new culture, was like a dream.
'She seemed very comfortable sort of operating in a foreign culture, just getting around day to day and navigating the logistics,' her father said. ... Anne was walking with American soldiers and journalists to [a] book donation ceremony when a bomb went off. Someone placed a tourniquet on Anne's leg, and she remained calm, her friends said. A quick-thinking colleague grabbed Anne's trusted tote as she was placed on a stretcher. The bag was given to her boss, who carried it on her shoulder as she waited outside the trauma room, then an intensive care unit. But Anne never recovered from her injuries." Image from article, with caption: Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff
This World Oft Can Be - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Della Mae's new album 'This World Oft Can Be' hit the stores and stands today. The Boston Globe gave it an AMAZING review, and called it 'one of the more anticipated albums.' I am such a proud Mama Hen! Go get a copy (I-tunes, Amazon) of the stellar work of the finest cultural diplomatesses that have ever graced the bluegrass (and public diplomacy) stage."
We Fear What We Don’t Know - Paul Rockower, Levantine:"We fear what we don’t know. The job of public diplomacy is to shine a light in the dark places so that we can know we don’t need to fear."
OSU-Tulsa study: U.S. tourism ads entice foreign tourists, build goodwill - tulsabusiness.com: "The federal government’s 'Brand USA' campaign to attract international tourists could also have a positive effect on viewer attitudes toward the U.S., according to a new study published online last week in American Behavioral Scientist by researchers from Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Southern Methodist University. The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 established The Corporation for Travel Promotion, a public-private partnership that was later dubbed Brand USA. The bill created a multi-million dollar global marketing effort to promote the U.S. as a travel destination, including the 'Land of Dreams' television commercial, which served as the stimulus for an online experimental study of Australian adults. 'Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, researchers have tried to understand whether strategic use of global media might improve perceptions of the United States,' said Dr. Jami Fullerton, professor and the Peggy Welch Chair in Strategic Communications at OSU-Tulsa. 'In this study, we not only investigated whether the Land of Dreams commercial
increased desire to travel to the United States, but also if Australians expressed more positive views about America after seeing it.' The article, 'Strategic Uses of Mediated Public Diplomacy: International Reaction to U.S. Tourism Advertising,' written by Fullerton and Dr. Alice Kendrick, professor of advertising at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, is the latest in a series of international studies in which they have observed a phenomenon they call the Bleedover Effect of tourism advertising. 'Results have shown that people who see tourism promotion feel more favorably about the advertised country, even if they never intend to visit,' said Kendrick. 'In the Brand USA study, the commercial appeared to do double-duty for government and industry – both in terms of the intended effect of piquing interest in travel to the U.S. and as a catalyst for goodwill.' Fullerton and Kendrick have examined mediated public diplomacy for several years, beginning with studies that culminated in a book about the controversial 2002 State Department’s post-Sept. 11 advertising campaign to predominantly Muslim countries. In Advertising’s War on Terrorism: The Story of the Shared Values Initiative, the authors presented their own studies as well as State Department documents that suggested that government-sponsored advertising could improve attitudes toward America." Image from
Presidential adviser Cristian Diaconescu pays an official visit to the US - actmedia.eu: "The coordinating presidential adviser Cristian Diaconescu pays an official visit to the US at the invitation of the National Security Council (NSC) and the State Department of the US. ... ‘I will have meetings at the State Department with ... Tara Sonenhine [sic], the subsecretary [sic] of state on diplomacy problems [sic] and foreign affairs [sic]’ Cristian Diaconescu
said for Mediafax, presidential adviser and former foreign affairs minister. Diaconescu will also meet the leaders of organisations and NGOs in the domains of security and international relations from Washington, with the leadership of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at the University George Washington, with professors of the South Caroline [sic] University." Uncaptioned image from article
Wrapping Up DC- Part 2 - McKeatings, All Aboard the Crazy Bus: "So, the Cherry Blossom Festival was beautiful. I'm grateful to have seen the entire area be covered in the pink blossoms. Truly glorious! But, Passport DC was by far our favorite city wide event this year, better than New Years in Old Town, better than a lot of them. I hope someone from Passport DC event group reads this post because I really can't say enough about it.
We love love loved it! Passport DC is a huge bash! Many of the foreign embassies located in DC open their doors, host tours, offer tasty treats and invite guests to participate in various artistic/cultural moments. Not all countries participate (but they should) and not all countries do a great job of it. The embassies who understand the value of public diplomacy go all out- it's obvious they are excited to have the opportunity for positive exposure. Passport DC seems like was designed for people like us- culturally curious, diplos and just all around 'embassy people'. It was great to see many people being excited and involved." Image from entry
Eritrea: Various Eritrean Communities Abroad Celebrate Independence Day With Patriotic Zeal - allafrica.com: "The Eritrean community members in Oakland, US, organized colorful celebration in connection with the momentous day, including a cultural show. Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh gave detailed briefings regarding the national foreign policies vis-à-vis the role of public diplomacy to this end, and called on the nationals to become primary beneficiaries of the new investment prospects in the Homeland."
Does it really make sense to engage North Korea?: Former UK Ambassador to North Korea lays out the case for engagement with North Korea - nknews.org: Ambassador James Hoare: "One problem I think with North Korea is the lack of knowledge about it outside. It’s changed quite a lot, I mean there is much more knowledge now than there ever was, but embassies are functional things. They are there for people to be able to talk; they’re there to facilitate, they’re not a reward for good behavior. Which is very much how the United States views the role of its embassies.
The attitude seems to be that you only get an American Embassy if you’re good – good on U.S. terms, that is. That seems to be a principle but to me an embassy is there to be in difficult times and easy times. Easy times everybody has a nice run. If it’s difficult times everyone is working till midnight every night and it’s bloody uncomfortable. But, A) you get to know people, B) you have channels that aren’t public channels so messages can go across without everybody having to take grandstand positions. If you do everything through public diplomacy then everybody is grandstanding and that is not necessarily a good way to get things done." Hoare image from entry
Ionian Village Adds ‘Repower Greece Day’ to Camping Program - goarch.org: "The Archdiocese Office of Ionian Village has established a cooperative one-day program, 'Repower Greece Day at Ionian Village,' an event that will encourage Ionian Village participants to closely examine their experiences of Greece, cultivate a high level of appreciation of their Greek heritage, and to become ambassadors for the country’s image abroad. Every summer, Ionian Village provides campers with a transformative experience of Greece, Hellenism and Orthodoxy through a powerful and meaningful travel program. Through close encounters with Greece, her people, and the Greek Orthodox faith, Ionian Village has fostered a love and appreciation of Greece and Hellenism in its participants for over forty years. Assisting the Ionian Village team in this visionary program will be Repower Greece, a public diplomacy campaign whose mission is to challenge negative perceptions of Greece on an international scale, replacing them with stories of success and positive experiences in efforts to restore Greece’s worldview."
NATO Liaison Officer’s regional office to be relocated to Uzbekistan - azernews.az: "At the initial stage, the NATO office in Tashkent will undertake the coordination of all stakeholders under the planned phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as well as the export of arms and army property. Along with working with the governments of NATO partner countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) with the aim of strengthening long-term bilateral cooperation, the NATO Liaison Officer will also provide support for initiatives of the Alliance for Public Diplomacy as well as provide coordination with international players in the region."
Speech: Ambitions of EU and East Partners for the Vilnius Summit - Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy: "At the Vilnius Summit on 28-29 November I would say that what we are aiming at, as we are still not there yet, is to deliver on the most far reaching agreement we have ever had with partners, an Association Agreement (AA)
including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA); an instrument for political association and economic integration. ... [T]he last time I was in Baku I asked you to help us to strengthen public diplomacy, to open the platform to exchanges of views with society at large, to cooperation with the European Union and various programmes that we jointly deliver on. At the time we are going to sign or initial an Association Agreement it is even more important to work on public diplomacy." Image from entry
Progressives, Pariahs and Sceptics: Who’s Who in the Arms Trade Treaty? - Anna Stavrianakis, e-ir.info: "On 2 April 2013, the majority of the world’s states voted in favour of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the General Assembly of the United Nations. ... European states claimed a 'special responsibility' to promote the ATT, given their role as major arms exporters. Collectively deploring the 'growing threat to humanity' posed by the unregulated arms trade – thus excluding from scrutiny, by definition, the regulated trade that they participate in – the UK, France, Germany and Sweden took a common approach 'grounded in the strong humanitarian principles that we share.' The
What Indians Think About China [scroll down link for item] - numerousadventuresinindia.blogspot.com: "The bad news for India-China relations is that 83 percent of Indians see
one editorial implies, have a 'propaganda angle'. Quite the contrary. It is a reflection of Indian anxiety and it amounts to hard evidence that such threat perceptions are not exclusively held by
China’s new diplomatic roadmap shows world vision - People's Daily Online: "China’s Premier Li Keqiang's trip to Asia and Europe has just concluded on May 27. On May 31, President Xi Jinping will start his state visit to Latin America and the United States. The 'password' of China's new diplomatic roadmap is gradually getting clear with the new leaders’ footprint. ... China's new diplomacy has already set sail. However, the process of 'diplomatic dream' will not be a flat road.
It needs adherence to traditions and flexible changes. Under the changing strategic opportunities and conditions, how to deepen the degree of integrated interests with countries in the world, how to properly handle competition with developing countries and how to focus on public diplomacy will be new topics of diplomatic blueprint for China." Image from entry
“Fighting Styles” or “Martial Brands”? An economic approach to understanding “lost lineages” in the Chinese Martial Arts - BenJudkins, Kung Fu Tea
Image from entry, with caption: The Chinese state has adopted the traditional martial arts a part of its public diplomacy effort, effectively free riding off of the vast good will that the “Kung Fu” Brand has accumulated over the years.
Israel applauded for findings in al-Dura case - Paul Lungen, cjnews.com: "After leading a crusade to debunk the Mohammad al-Dura video for 12 years, French activist Philippe Karsenty is gratified that the Israeli government is finally on board. ... Last week, a blue-ribbon government review committee reported to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not kill or injure the 12-year-old al-Dura at the Netzarim Junction in Gaza in September 2000. A video produced by a France 2 cameraman and broadcast on the state-owned station claimed that al-Dura was shot by IDF forces. Narrated by France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin, it became a potent symbol in the intifadah and a propaganda weapon wielded by Israel’s enemies. ... In the days following release of the Israeli report, Karsenty received emails from French scholars who are now interested in getting more information about his version of the event. He said the al-Dura incident was the latest development in the continuing assault on Israel. The military and terrorist options have failed, so 'a new kind of war' is being waged, a propaganda assault. 'Israel was not prepared for that kind of warfare and did not know how to handle it,' he said. He, along with CAMERA and Honest Reporting engaged in the 'media battlefield, but Israel should have been more actively engaged in that form of public diplomacy,' he added."
Oslo was a process to manage the conflict in interest of US and Israel – jettison it - "Full transcript of interview with Palestinian professor Rashid Khalidi ... [Khalidi:] No Israeli delegation comes to New York without spending seventy five per cent of their time talking to Congress, talking to the media. No Palestinian delegation that has come to New York has ever spent serious time doing public diplomacy. ... They still talk perfectly
good English, but you don’t see them. But I’m not talking specifically about them, but about a failure that goes back to the twenties and thirties, a failure to understand the international environment, a failure to understand both the Israeli and the American domestic environment. It was never true in Europe and in the rest of the world – the Palestinians are fairly good at making their case there – but they have this huge blind spot when it comes to the US and Israel, which are the most important countries." Image from entry, with caption: Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University
DFA now on Facebook - sunstar.com: "The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that Filipinos here and abroad can now connect and engage with the agency as it launched its official Facebook page on Monday. 'Department of Foreign Affairs Republic of the Philippines' is the official Facebook page of the agency, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said. The setting up of the official DFA Facebook page is in line with the Department’s pursuit of being more proactive in its public diplomacy efforts, including engaging a wider range of audience through the use of a trusted and highly popular social networking service such as Facebook, he said. The new official page will provide information on the three pillars of Philippine foreign policy, specifically information and announcements from the Department, its Embassies, Consulates and Missions, and news, photos and video clips of DFA programs, projects, and activities. 'The DFA Facebook page is one of the projects programmed under the DFA Strategic Plan in order to advance the Department’s public diplomacy thrusts. We acknowledge that the social media is a powerful communication tool and through Facebook we hope to build stronger relationships with Facebook users and fans and encourage more people to become fans through interactions,' Hernandez said. 'We created it to allow the general public to easily find DFA-related information through a medium that can be easily accessed, wherever they are,' he added. The Filipino public will likewise now have easy access to vital information such as consular and Assistance to Nationals (ATN) services of the Department, news, and even public advisories. Last year, the DFA has set up its official Twitter account (@dfaspokesperson) which features links to DFA media releases, announcements and other updates that may be useful to the general public. The Facebook page is also an extended media platform as the DFA has already set up its official website www.dfa.gov.ph, Hernandez said."
О круглом столе РИСИ и СОИГСИ [Google translation available] - osradio.ru: "23 мая 2012г. во Владикавказе в Северо-Осетинском институте социальных и гуманитарных исследований состоялся круглый стол на тему 'Российско-грузинские отношения на современном этапе'. ... Единственным представителем грузинских НПО на встрече был Шота Апхаидзе.
Говоря о перспективах грузино-осетинских взаимоотношений, он указал на то, что грузинское общество (в лице НПО) будет пытаться построить отношения с помощью «народной дипломатии» (public diplomacy)." Image from article
Of Lions and Men: Pakistani Elections and Feline Symbolism - Stig Toft Madsen, infocus.asiaportal.info: "The recent elections in Pakistan would seem to indicate that even in the Land of the Pure, baroque and quasi-naturalistic forms of art asserted themselves in the space between science and religion. This was evident in the campaign of Nawaz Sharif, the winner of the elections. Both before and after the elections, Nawaz Sharif was virtually lionized as his party and followers played heavily on royal symbolism equating their chosen leader with the top predator of the natural world, i.e. the lion. ... Now that Nawaz Sharif has already been invited to India in the latest of umpteen attempts to mend the fences between the hostile South Asian neighbors, one might suggest that some lions be relocated to Pakistan, too. Would it not behoove for India’s likely future Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an act of public diplomacy to let himself be cast in the role of the magnanimous dispenser of symbolic political capital, and would it not be wise for Nawaz Sharif to supplement his human stock of uncontrollable jihadist wards with a few free-roaming feline wards less likely to turn against him?"
LiveJournal Home Create an account Explore Search by Interest Search by School Ratings Community Di [sic] - listening post al jazeera: "[T]he rising star of the Washington Public Diplomacy, Professor Marc Lynch."
Hastings Library Celebrates 100 Years With 'Almost Raucous' - Danny LoPriore, greenburgh.dailyvoice.com: "HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - "The Friends of the Hastings Public Library will host 'Almost Raucous,' a cocktail party and fundraiser in celebration of the Hastings Public Library’s first century on June 15 from 5 to 8 p.m.
The party will be held at the home of Judith McHale and Michael O’Halloran on three landscaped acres overlooking the Hudson River. Judith McHale served as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, 2009-11. A principal advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and worked to develop and implement a new strategic framework for public diplomacy." McHale image from
American University, School of Communication - aejmc.org: "Term Faculty Search, AY2013-2014[:] The School of Communication (SOC) at American University is seeking candidates to fill one full-time 12-month teaching position at the rank of Instructor to begin Fall 2013 within the Public Communication division. The Public Communication faculty has a national reputation for work in the areas of political communication, public affairs, advocacy communication, social media and public diplomacy. For more information, visit: http://soc.american.edu."
Managing Editor wanted | GDIT Middle East news website | Maryland, US - asiawrites.org: "MANAGING EDITOR OF MIDDLE EAST NEWS WEBSITE ... Requires 8-10 years experience in news editing and production, public diplomacy and international affairs. Familiarity with policy issues and cultures of the Middle East is required."
The end of the ‘war on terror’ - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: President Obama wisely avoided the phrase “mission accomplished” in his major speech last week about the “war on terror,” but columnists aren’t obliged to be so circumspect: It is time to declare victory and get on with our lives. Image from
Naming Our Nameless War - Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch, truthdig.com: What does the United States hope to achieve in its inherited and unending War for the Greater Middle East? To pacify the region? To remake it in our image? To drain its stocks of petroleum? Or just keeping the lid on? However you define the war’s aims, things have not gone well, which once again suggests that, in some form, it will continue for some time to come.
The Retreat Doctrine - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: Historically speaking, the war on terror has been a model of legal and ethical caution. The depressing truth about the war on terror isn't that it has bankrupted us. It's that we fought it on the cheap while gorging on entitlements, ethanol subsidies, bridges to nowhere and ObamaCare. Retreat can lead to decline, when a nation develops a taste for it, and when adversaries take advantage of it, and when disasters result from it. Britain had the U.S. at its back when it ceased being a power to be reckoned with. Should that day come for us, who will have ours?
Obama’s counterterror contradiction - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Mr. Obama made clear that the war as it has been waged outside of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan will continue, that it may be conducted in many parts of the world and that it will likely involve more drone attacks.
Religious Freedom under Attack: Violations of religious liberties have increased in some areas of the world, a U.S. State Department report says, singling out Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, even Belgium - Editorial, latimes.com: The International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, which was released by Secretary of State John F. Kerry pursuant to a 1998 act of Congress, is unsparing in describing violations of religious freedom even in countries allied with the United States.
In the aftermath of the report's release, some questioned its utility because it is primarily an exercise in information-gathering and does not trigger any sanctions. The same complaint is leveled against the State Department's annual report on the state of human rights in various countries. But there is value in an objective and open-eyed accounting, even if U.S. diplomacy sometimes must be guided by factors other than a foreign nation's respect for individual rights. And sometimes, though not often enough, governments can be shamed by the truth into changing their behavior. Image from
A new road map to Middle East peace? - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Kerry’s window of opportunity will close soon: If he can’t produce real negotiations by this summer, the Palestinians will be back at the United Nations in September, and the Israeli settlement machine will be an issue again. Kerry has taken some innovative steps to sweeten a negotiating option that has been soured by so many decades of failure. In effect, he has front-loaded some potential benefits, so that Israelis and Palestinians can see what could be gained if they negotiated the difficult final-status issues
Shuttle Diplomacy, Kerry Style - Editorial, New York Times: Secretary of State John Kerry has seemed perpetually in motion in the Middle East since he assumed office, shuttling from one meeting to another with top Israeli and Palestinian officials over the last four months in an effort to revive peace negotiations. He has divulged few details, and his overall strategy is unclear. But it would be foolish to write off his peacemaking diplomacy, as some have. So far, he seems to be moving in a determined and encouraging fashion on a series of interlocking steps.
The long haul in Syria: The painful reality is that Obama administration does not want to take ownership of every international crisis - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: Polls show that most Americans don't want anything to do with the Syrian war. A U.S. commitment that began in the romantic dawn of the Arab Spring has turned, instead, into an exercise in painful realism.
Any new military action, even one without boots on the ground, would detract from the goal Obama set out in his reelection campaign: nation-building at home. Image from article, with caption: A Syrian rebel fires shells made from gas cylinders in Idlib province
In Syria, Go Big or Stay Home - Ray Takeyh, New York Times: There is no doubt that a decisive rebel victory in Syria and the fall of the Assad dynasty would constitute a major setback for Iran, given that Syria has always been Iran’s most reliable pathway to its proxy Hezbollah. But a rebel rout is highly unlikely without full-scale, decisive American intervention.
Why Some Wars Are So Savage: Syria's conflict meets many of military history's criteria for barbarism - Victor Davis Hanson, Wall Street Journal: The Syrian war meets many of military history's criteria of barbarism. We are witnessing a third year of the fighting, marked by roving bands rather than a formal duel between uniformed soldiers squared off on either side of no-man's land.
Neither side—if there are indeed two sides, rather than four or five—is democratic. Image from article, with caption: After an Assad regime airstrike on a neighborhood in eastern Aleppo, Syria
Iran’s nuclear games demand a tougher U.S. approach - Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, Washington Post: While economic pressures impose a cost on
Choosing sides in Afghanistan: U.S. neutrality in the country's next presidential election is a nice ideal — it's just not possible - Max Boot, latimes.com: President Obama should make it clear that our continuing aid is contingent on the term-limited Karzai leaving office.
Gitmo’s Other Prisoner - Linda Greenhouse, New York Times: In his speech last week, President Obama invited the American public to reclaim its pre-9/11 equilibrium — not by assuming that the country faces no threat at all, but by recognizing that the threats it faces have been and can be managed smartly.
If the public accepts that invitation, we will see not only Guantánamo closed, but the president himself freed from Guantánamo’s chains. Image from
America's China mistake: As Beijing becomes more bellicose, Washington clings to the hope that military-to-military relations will somehow relieve tensions. They won't - Gordon G. Chang and James A. Lyons Jr., latimes.com: Analyst Robert Sutter was surely correct when he wrote in 2005 that "China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans." That assessment, unfortunately, remains true today. Beijing is configuring its forces — especially its navy — to fight ours.
Withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Indian propaganda: Geelani - risingkashmir.in: Chairman Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Geelani Tuesday said that Taliban spillover to Kashmir after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is merely an “Indian propaganda." In a face to face dialogue with David Hamilton, first secretary for political and economical affairs in Canadian embassy in Delhi, Geelani said that there is no role for Taliban and added that India has started mischief, in order to justify their occupation.
U.S. Propaganda Against Islamic Terrorism Should Refute Immortality of the Soul - Kermit Zarley, patheos.com: Last Saturday, US TODAY newspaper reported that it had obtained a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which assesses the Pentagon’s propaganda activities called Military Information Support Operations (MISO). According to the GAO, these propaganda activities include websites, leaflets and broadcasts intended to change foreigners’ “attitudes and behaviors in support of U.S. Government” objectives. One of its big objectives is to counter the anti-U.S. propaganda of Islamic radicals presented mostly on numerous Internet websites. Boston authorities believe that the Muslim Tsarnaev brothers became radicalized primarily by reading Islamic websites. And the Pentagon admits that it has not used Internet websites to issue its propaganda as much as the Islamic radicals have with theirs. In this GAO report, its main criticism of MISO is that it has no method whereby it can assess its own propaganda efforts. Yet US TODAY claimed in an article last year that the Pentagon spent as much as $580 million per year on these propaganda activities in recent years. And the Pentagon submits regular, ample reports about MISO to Congress. Saturday’s US TODAY article further says of the Pentagon, “It also relies heavily on contractors to produce advertising, leaflets and radio broadcasts, many of them unattributed to the U.S. government because locals do not trust western influence.” In my post on April 23 (“The USA’s Separation of Church and State Binds Its War on Terrorism”), I proposed that the U.S. government, thus the Pentagon, should counter Islamic propaganda which exhorts Muslims to forfeit their lives in acts of terror against “infidels” such as U.S. soldiers and even citizens. How? I stated that the Old Testament, which Islam accepts as a “holy book,” teaches clearly and repeatedly that “upon human death souls go down inside the earth to a place called “Sheol” (mentioned 67 times and similar to Hades) where there is no memory and no consciousness.” I also explained that this is what the early Christians believed, which modern historians, such as Alan Segal in his classic book, Life After Death, have well documented.
Propaganda Roundup. Hezbolla in Syria, Jihad in Europe - Jonathon Narvey, propagandistmag.com: The Propagandist's Allies continue their shock-and-awe campaign against the Enemy, bombarding them with uncomfortable truths and stinging political satire. Here are the latest propaganda dispatches from the front: Those Who Served So America Might Live.
A Memorial Day tribute. Hezbollah Commits to an All-Out Fight to Save Assad. Good. Let's hope both sides lose. Paris: Soldier’s Neck Cut By Robed Attacker. Another brave holy warrior ambushes a soldier out of nowhere and skulks away before he can face the consequences of his actions. Independent illustrates story about jihadist websites with screenshot of Jihad Watch. Silver lining: curious new readers of Jihad Watch might learn a thing or two. Video of Palestinian Arabs attacking IDF - from behind journalists. Another day in Pallywood -- exposed. Wait, there are riots in Sweden? The absence of coverage of the week-long destruction of a European country is conspicuous.
North Korea's English Propaganda Broadcast Now Online - C. Custer, mashable.com: If you wanted to listen to
In fact, there's so much static that it’s barely comprehensible. If you want something clear, you can always watch North Korean TV. If you need something in English, though, this is one of the only options out there at this point. Uncaptioned image from article
False Propaganda And Lies To ‘Destroy’ Serbs [includes video] - Serbia's Ambassador to the World: Adrian A. McQueen, a young British man, made an extremely well-documented short documentary film showing how Serbs have been unfairly targeted by world powers, media and the
. Adrian A. McQueen said: “The Serbs have been the most demonised group of modern times and their side of the story has never been presented to the world. This ethnic group in the Balkans have been unfairly demonised and most of the world have believed the false propaganda and outright lies. The mistreatment and false representation of the Serbs, an Orthodox Christian ethnic group in the Balkans, is a prime example how the media, historians and governments can deliberately distort facts and rally together to target a group and accomplish their greedy objectives and aims.” Vatican
British intelligence agency MI6 wanted to mount a violent black propaganda campaign: framing diplomats, 'incendiarism' and 'liquidation' of individuals - Gavin Cordon, belfasttelegraph.co.uk: MI6 wanted to mount a violent Cold War campaign of subversion and black propaganda to undermine the Soviet Union, according to official files made public today. Tactics proposed ranged from minor disruption - throwing "stink bombs" at Communist Party meetings - to the "liquidation" of selected individuals in
Big Brother is watching you: Propaganda at The British Library: An intriguing new exhibition at the British Library shows how state propaganda has inspired some of the most provocative and visually powerful images of the past century - Adrian Hamilton, Independent: The British have always thought themselves as above propaganda. Not for them the crude demonisation of other races and the rosy-coloured visions of a happy peasantry of authoritarian regimes. Propaganda was for tyrannies not for democracies. Well, only up to a point according to a provocative new exhibition devoted to the subject by the British Library.
In the First World War we were as crude as Goebbels and Stalin, with posters castigating Germans as the monsters of Belgian massacres and dramatic posters demanding that every true-born Briton should sign up for the fight and that every woman should encourage their menfolk to do so.If this intriguing show has a message it is that propaganda is a tool of persuasion, neither good nor bad. Context is all and the exhibition ends with a section on public-health campaigns on Aids, road accidents and diet whose aims are of the best but whose means of persuasion are exactly those used to convince the Germans of the Jewish menace and the British to sign up for war. A poster urging people to cough into a handkerchief to prevent the spread of germs treats germs as an enemy in exactly the same in manner as posters demonising the Germans. The shocking pictures used to stop people smoking are no different in technique than the Nazi posters about Jews. Propaganda may have become a dirty word but it remains a much employed process.
Propaganda at the British Library: Read between the lines - Prospero, economist.com: State propaganda is easy to spot. From leaflets dropped behind enemy lines to other bald appeals to flag and country, government attempts to sway public opinion often seem laughably obvious—at least in hindsight. Yet quite a lot of national pride-mongering is a bit more subtle—and more effective, and perhaps more troubling—than we like to admit. This at least is the claim of “Propaganda: Power and Persuasion”, a provocative new exhibition at the British Library in London. In an age of social media and “spin”, propaganda permeates communication as much as ever, argue the show's curators. The lavish opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games in London was a classic exercise in national branding, for example. Similarly, last month's ceremonial pomp for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral served to reinforce enduring symbols of British authority. The most re-tweeted tweet
in history, “Four more years” (celebrating Barack Obama’s re-election as America's president), illustrates mass dissemination of a particular point of view. “When people think of propaganda, they often think it’s only done by the bad guys,” explains Ian Cooke, who co-curated the exhibition. In fact propaganda is “everyday and insidious”, produced everywhere and by everyone. One of the show's highlights is a mint-condition set of Norman Rockwell posters entitled “The Four Freedoms”, on loan from a London gallerist. Designed to persuade Americans to buy war bonds during the second world war, these 1943 posters raised $130m by depicting the national values of family, prayer and the nobility of the workingman. By offering contemporary examples of this age-old practice, this show pushes visitors to reflect on their own susceptibility to manipulation. “Propaganda at its most potent has always been something we don’t recognise as propaganda,” says John Pilger, a documentary filmmaker and journalist. As this absorbing exhibition makes clear, it is time we got better at reading between the lines. Image from article
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition misses the point - socialistworker.co.uk: Does propaganda really allow dictators to control people’s minds? That seems to be the conclusion of this major exhibition which speeds us from the 16th century origins of this pervasive art form in Europe through to today. The curators claim that this is the first exhibition to explore international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries. The posters, films and documents dwell on Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and Hitler’s Germany to make their point. The curators’ key themes are that propaganda helps to establish authority by spreading fear, and leadership cults by being selective about the truth. The assumption is that most people—particularly those poorly educated—are susceptible to a constant barrage of well packaged lies. But is that really true? There are hints among some of the exhibits that human beings are much more complicated than this. The 1968 painting Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan is a good example. In it we see a young Mao off to organise a miners’ strike in the 1920s.
This determined Mao is youthful in spirit and willing to travel anywhere to side with industrial workers. The combination of attributes is not accidental. Late 1960s China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution. Different sections of the Communist ruling class were fighting over the future direction of the country’s state capitalist economy. To hold onto power, Mao needed to distinguish himself by alluding to the origins of Communist rule 20 years before. At the same time he had to appear to share the anger at exploitation of workers and young people today. The fact that this poster would need to be so carefully drafted and reproduced over nine million times—a record for any artwork—speaks volumes of the fears of the ruling class. The Chinese ruling class knew that their hold over the masses was fragile—that workers’ real life experiences trumped those projected onto them by their leaders. The failure to grasp this point is the exhibition’s central flaw. Many of the dictatorships that it dwells upon fell after popular uprisings. There’s a tradition which is barely acknowledged here—that people in rebellion forged their own propaganda tools against their oppressors. The truly revolutionary posters of Russia until 1926, or France in 1968 weren’t trying to exaggerate the abilities of leaders, but instead to empower ordinary people. The small number of cartoons and leaflets shown do give us a glimpse into the radical propaganda alternative. The works on display, sometimes clever and occasionally inspired, are not so much an expression of ruling class power but rather a reflection of its justifiable paranoia. Image from article, with caption: Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan, a propaganda poster from the Cultural Revolution
Chinese Propaganda Posters - John Foster, observatory.designobserver.com: Bloomsbury Auctions in London held an auction last week of vintage Chinese propaganda posters, largely from the 1950s and 60s. In the heyday of what was then called Red China by the West, millions of these were placed in shop windows and factory walls throughout the mainland — all designed to spread fear of U.S. Imperialism and promote the ideals of Communism.
Though propaganda in China today is spread via the mouthpieces of state-run radio and television news — or highly-censored news from other countries, some internet access and robust activity with social media give the people at least a chance for balanced understanding of the world. Image from entry, with caption: Bi Cheng Defend our Motherland and our Hometown 770 x 530 mm, by Bi Cheng, People's Fine Art Publishing House [Beijing], 1951.
Maps as Propaganda in the Age of Exploration - Stacey Dugan Montebello, nrm.org: When exploring the significance of the advent of printed maps in Europe one must look to complex systems that governments used to control and censor the unprecedented amount of affordable information. The sudden ability to mass produce accurate and sensitive information was potential threat to any superpowers during the age of exploration wishing to expand their borders and/or influence.
Thus many of the superpowers responded to this potential threat through censorship limiting the amount of accurate information their populace and by extension other competing nations had access to. And in response to the demand for information they created propaganda and sensationalize illustrative maps. Censorship and the strategic use of information were essential to the success of any European exploration, as exemplified by the British monarchy of their acquisition of new territory. The combined effect of censorship and propaganda of printed material greatly affected the use of maps in the acquisition of new territory. Image from entry
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"a fight between two bald men over a comb"
The Argentine novelist Jorge Luis Borges regarding the Falklands war between the U.K. and Argentina
Socialist Realist paintings hang in the study of Sergei Bobovnikov’s St. Petersburg apartment. From: Back in the (’30s) U.S.S.R. - Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times