Monday, July 29, 2013

July 28 Public Diplomacy Review

"Released from his work in the soulless safety of the Ministry of Information, [author Graham] Greene used his night job as an air warden [during the London blitz] to prowl among the ruins or make love with his landlady’s feisty daughter, Dorothy Glover, on a rooftop lighted by the glare of burning buildings." image from

--Miranda Seymour, review of "Carrying On: Lara Feigel’s ‘Love-Charm of Bombs,’" New York Times; image from


How to Lose a War: A Primer - "We should engage in some counterintuitive thinking: for our next war, instead of trying to win, let’s try to openly seek defeat. At a minimum, we will be no worse off with that policy than we are now and if we happen to fail, we will actually be moving closer to victory. ... If you wish to lose a war, be hated but not feared. ... For example, have your own PA and diplomatic organs in speaking to the media, repeat enemy propaganda against your own soldiers and abuse the military justice system to prosecute soldiers for splitsecond combat decisions in order to appease these critics.

Loudly trumpet the 'culturally appropriate meals' to the guys you are going to waterboard and appoint enemy sympathizers as 'cultural advisers' and 'liaisons' to government security and law enforcement agencies. ...  Make sure that your intelligence and public diplomacy services are shorthanded on personnel fluent in the languages used by the enemy, whom you allow to practice perfidy without punishment." Image from entry

Letter to the Editor - John Karol, Orford, Valley News: "[H]ow many followers of mainstream media are aware of the provisions of Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and Section 1078 of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act — both signed into law by President Obama? Specifically: ∎ Section 1021 authorizes the U.S. military summarily to arrest, render and indefinitely detain without charge or trial anyone, including American citizens, merely suspected of aiding al-Qaida or any undefined 'associated force.' ∎ Section 1078 authorizes our government to prepare and disseminate propaganda (euphemistically called 'public diplomacy') not only abroad, as before, but now in the United States. Without knowledge of such matters, how can meaningful public discourse on them take place? We are inadequately informed by the mainstream media. Yet an informed electorate is all that stands between democracy and tyranny."

U.S. Spends $24 Million On ‘Propaganda Plane' Few Can See or Hear - John Hudson, Foreign Policy: "It's difficult to find a more wasteful government program. For the last six years, the U.S. government has spent more than $24 million to fly a plane around Cuba and beam American-sponsored TV programming to the island's inhabitants.

But every day the plane flies, the government in Havana jams its broadcast signal. Few, if any, Cubans can see what it broadcasts. The program is run by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, and for the last two years, it has asked Congress to scrap the program, citing its exorbitant expense and dubious cost-effectiveness. 'The signal is heavily jammed by the Cuban government, significantly limiting this platform's reach and impact on the island,' reads the administration's fiscal year 2014 budget request. But each year, hard-line anti-Castro members of Congress have rejected the recommendation and renewed funding for the program, called AeroMarti. Now, under the restrictions of government-wide belt-tightening, AeroMarti may finally die, but its fate has yet to be sealed." Image from article

BBG Is Adjusting to Modern Times: The federal government'sbroadcasting services are moving with the times  – Richard M. Lobo, Director, International Broadcasting Bureau, Washington - Letters, Wall Street Journal: My former colleague at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, S. Enders Wimbush, points to some of the challenges confronting the BBG (‘The Fading Voice of Liberty,’ July 19). These issues are deep-rooted and complex, but they are not impossible to solve. In fact, several were addressed in the strategic plan that the agency's governing board, including Mr. Wimbush, adopted in October 2011, and many are now underway. The board has been working closely with the operational leadership of the BBG and its broadcasters to reduce duplication in use of resources, increase efficiencies, and promote innovation. Impressive strides have been made in adapting our content to digital media so that our broadcasters' award-winning, unbiased news and information programs can be delivered on all the platforms that our audiences increasingly prefer, according to solid research. Of course, as Mr. Wimbush indicates, there are vexing problems that have built up over decades and that will be more difficult to resolve—overlap of language services where it is not needed in local markets, questions of control over taxpayer-funded grantees and other matters that have been documented elsewhere. Some of these matters can be resolved only through legislation, since Congress created the BBG's structure in stages over seven decades, using different sets of blueprints drawn by disparate hands. But to do away with the agency altogether is certainly not the way to get things done. Yes, the BBG needs to be brought up-to-date to keep up with a changing global media environment while working with comparatively tight funding. But we're well on our way.” Via RB on Facebook

The Corpse in the Senate Cloakroom - John O'Sullivan, "Ambassador Victor Ashe ... [is] former mayor of Knoxville, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, and ... a Member of the Board of Broadcasting Governors, the body that oversees U.S. International Broadcasting—i.e., VOA, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, etc., etc. —henceforth USIB. ... Mr. Ashe ... is dedicated, successful, popular, and bi-partisan. ...

The BBG is a bipartisan body composed of four Republicans and four Democrats, all chosen by their respective Senate leaderships (with a casting vote in the hands of the Secretary of State, currently John Kerry, who usually appoints his Asst. Secretary to cast it.) Currently, however, because of earlier resignations, there are only three regular BBG members—Ashe the Republican, and Democrats Meehan and McCue—plus Kerry. To fill three of the four vacancies the White House has sent down the nominations of one Democrat (Jeff Shell, to be BBG chairman) and two Republicans (Ryan Crocker and Matthew Armstrong.) All three are exemplary nominations and more or less unopposed. Other things being equal, the changes would restore balance to the Board—three Democrats and three Republicans with Kerry enjoying the casting vote—and would usually be rubber-stamped. That would reflect the tradition of both the BBG and USIB that partisan politics play no part in their debates and decisions. And this non-partisan tradition is both vital in itself and the reason why USIB gets strong support from both sides on Capitol Hill. But other things are curiously unequal. Somewhere along the line Crocker’s nomination got subtly changed. It is no longer being proposed to fill one of three (three!) Republican vacancies. It is now presented as a replacement for the retiring Ashe who—how can I put this politely?—hadn’t been planning on retiring. As a result, instead of a 3-3 balance on the Board, if the Senate okays the nominations tomorrow, there will be a 3-2 Democrat majority on the Board or a 4-2 Democrat majority when the Secretary of State’s representative votes." Via TL on Facebook; Ashe image from

A Tale of Two Syrians - Bolen88's Blog: Musical Adventures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan -
"When I crossed the border into Syria in the summer of 2010, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Those that read my blog entry covering those colorful hours of travel may remember my apprehensiveness the evening that our American Voices faculty left Iraq and headed for Damascus. At our American Voices workshop at the Damascus Conservatory that summer, I was amazed at the plush facility (since bombed) and the many talented students I met there.  Little did I know, but two of the students would leave a particular impression on me."
Via PR

MEA to launch mobile app - "New Delhi ... The ministry of external affairs will launch a smartphone application Monday to inform users about its services and keep them updated on happenings on the diplomacy front. 'MEA to launch its mobile app: will be launched on July 29 (Monday).

The app is available for Android and iOS platforms,' public diplomacy division of the ministry tweeted Sunday. The MEA will be the first government department to have a mobile app for smartphone users. It will provide details of all citizen-centric services of the MEA like passport, visa for those travelling to India and Haj related details among others." Image from entry

Why cares Saudis news of Egypt?: The real revolution that came in the globalization and the information technology revolution is not only communication between peoples, but more than that; tremendous growth on the level of economic and trade relations in transit between countries [Google "translation":] - "masses on Earth are also affected by all this, and this is normal, networks of social turned to actors in any political event, so فاهتمام American public demonstrations Brazil after it was the U.S. does not know what is Brazil, and attention Arabs both small and large in regard Egyptian or Syrian or Tunisian has never before, is the result of this global networking condenser via the internet. therefore, became the States are also interested in particular its image of mind with other peoples, and make it - in the last three years only - budgets have been made ​​before, with an emphasis on the use of the Internet, particularly in this area, turning this into the Gaza named 'public diplomacy' Public Diplomacy, and there are beautiful book to the author of an American named George Overton on this aspect entitled 'International Politics in the age of communication" Foreign Policy in an interconnected World.'"

Traditional Diplomacy: Evolving But Not Forgotten - Sarah Blanchard, Exchange Journal: "Even though the scholarship is focused on social media and citizen-to-citizen engagement, traditional diplomacy cannot be completely forgotten, since many diplomats are the very opinion leaders that public diplomacy practitioners aim to influence. A strategic combination of all diplomatic tools needs to be part of the discussion."

The leap from corporate law to public service - Howard Liebman, Montreal Gazette: "On Sunday I turned 40 surrounded by my wife, children and family. It is a milestone that coincided with another important marker in my life — the eve of my 10th year of public service as chief of staff to Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler. As I celebrate the two events, I find myself

reflecting on how rewarding and fulfilling public service is. ... Thanks to the work that Mr. Cotler does in the areas of justice and human rights, I have been engaged in public diplomacy both locally and in all four corners of the world." Liebman image from article


No relief for Syria: The absolute size of the humanitarian catastrophe there may not yet match the largest of recent times, but Syria is working hard to catch up - Timothy Garton Ash, Something must be done!" we cry. But what? Make the decisive, massive military intervention that alone would defeat Assad, and you face another Iraq. Don't intervene and accept another Bosnia. The record of Western military intervention in this region is disastrous.

Yet the notion that not intervening in any way is always the most moral option simply does not stand honest scrutiny. Image from article, with caption: Syrian refugees fill up their water jugs at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan. Zaatari is home to about 120,000 Syrians.

Libya needs the U.S. for its transition to democracy - Charles Dunne, Stephen McInerney and Karim Mezran, Washington Post: The United States must build on the success of the 2011 NATO intervention and recognize the low cost and high reward of helping Libya evolve into a stable, prosperous and democratic ally in North Africa. A strong U.S. commitment to Libya is essential to the consolidation of its democratic transition, which would inspire confidence in a region struggling to overcome generations of authoritarianism.

North Korea Still Gets Propaganda Mileage Out Of U.S. Spy Ship - Scott Newman, North Korea's most famous museum exhibit, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo, has been painted and polished for display as part of Saturday's "Victory Day" ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.

The Pueblo, captured off the coast of North Korea in 1968, "is expected to be unveiled this week as the centerpiece of a renovated war museum," The Associated Press says. The lightly armed Pueblo was on a mission to listen in on North Korean communications when it was intercepted and commandeered in the Sea of Japan .North Korea held the entire crew — more than 80 Americans — for nearly a year before they were forced to sign confessions of espionage and released. Image from article, with caption: In a photo provided by the official Korean Central News Agency, North Koreans raise their fists in front of the USS Pueblo during a June rally in Pyongyang.


4 in 5 in U.S. face near-poverty, no work - Hope Yen, Associated Press, USA Today: Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. Image from entry

100 Movie Quotes (American Film Institute Top 100 Movies); via JLB on Facebook

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