Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 14 Public Diplomacy Review

"I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, 'For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe [Biden], you be my witness.' I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters." (p. 393 of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's"Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.")

--Cited in Bret Stephens, "Robert Gates's Dereliction of 'Duty,'" Wall Street Journal; image from


Video: Kerry gives Lavrov Idaho potatoes before talks in Paris - Via LOS on Facebook


Fulbright mtvU Awards for American Students -  “Overview: The Fulbright Program was created by Congress in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges.  The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, joined together to create the Fulbright mtvU Fellowship Awards to promote the role of music in mutual understanding, invigorate interest in international education among U.S. college and university students, and further the positive impact of public-private partnerships in public diplomacy.

The Award [:] The Fulbright mtvU grant is offered to students who seek to conduct research for a project of their own design around an aspect of international musical culture for one academic year.  The projects are designed to promote ‘the power of music’ as a global force for mutual understanding.  Throughout their time abroad, fellows will share their experiences through mtvU print, broadcast, and/or online mediums.  Along with the study of music in a particular cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music related fields such as music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance. Up to four grants will be awarded. Eligibility [:] Candidates must be U.S. citizens." Image from


America’s Cultural Exports Now: How the world sees the United States. American cultural exports now, from Miley Cyrus to “The Hunger Games” - Tom Ashbrook, "Tune in to the Golden Globes from anywhere in the world in this age of global media, and you’ll see plenty of glam and smarts – and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler going pretty racy to introduce Leonardo DiCaprio. Tune in to the MTV Video Music Awards from Yemen or Malaysia, and you got near-naked Miley Cyrus in full twerk.

In the US, we are inured to the racy and raunchy of our popular culture these days. My guest today says much of the rest of the world is not, and it’s costing us. This hour On Point: The commercial media takeover of American public diplomacy, soft power, and its price. Guests [:] Martha Bayles, humanities professor at Boston College. Author of 'Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy and America’s Image Abroad.' R. Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Former U.S. Foreign Service official, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and U.S. State Department spokesman." Image from entry, with caption: A still from pop singer Miley Cyrus’ music video for her song “Wrecking Ball.”

Ted Cruz, Cannabis, Public Diplomacy, And The Kitchen Sink - "Public diplomacy, brace yourself you pd definition whores, is the act of a government explaining itself and its policy to a foreign publics, in order to, massage a better diplomatic relation into the hearts and minds of those foreign publics. All countries do it to some degree, so it’s not a purely US practice. With that understanding in mind, I pose these questions: How does a public diplomacy officer explain to a world of religious people that somehow the US government knows better than God? How does a public diplomacy officer explain to a world of people who want to be free from an overbearing government that it is okay to ruin the lives of people who consume a particular plant? How does a public diplomacy officer explain to a world full of people that don’t want to see violence and crime that as a result of your policies you have given rise to extreme violence and organized crime? These are some tough questions, even tougher is explaining the very real national security threats, which must be addressed, if cannabis policy were to change." Uncaptioned image from entry

Hillary Clinton’s Unapologetically Hawkish Record Faces 2016 Test: Burned by Iraq in 2008, but still a strong voice for military action - Michael Crowley, Time: "If Clinton runs for president in 2016, she’s likely to emphasize the more dovish aspects of her record—including her public diplomacy to

repair America’s international image, her focus on building ties in Asia, and her attention to women’s rights and development issues." Image from entry, with caption: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks after being presented the 2013 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize Dec. 6, 2013 in Washington, DC.

They fall right into his lap: Journalists jump for jobs on President Obama’s team: Struggling news business cited as a factor in migration - Jim McElhatton, Washington Times: "Journalism and open government groups have criticized President Obama for falling short of promises to increase transparency, but that hasn’t stopped reporters and editors from gobbling up jobs in his administration. One of the latest to go from covering the administration to promoting it is Dorie Nolt, who left her job as education reporter for The Associated Press to become press secretary at the Education Department.

She joins at least 22 other former journalists who have worked or who continue to work in the administration, according to White House announcements, ethics filings and media reports. They include prominent media figures like former Time Magazine employees Jay Carney, the reporter turned White House press secretary, and managing editor Richard Stengel, who took a roughly quarter million dollar bonus before he left for an under secretary post [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] at the State Department. Image from entry, with caption: President Barack Obama reacts to a BlackBerry message in the Treaty Room office in the private residence of the White House, March 21, 2010.

Unify the Tribes [includes video] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Audiopharmacy drops some phenomenal beats while on their American Music Abroad tour through Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Samoa. They were the only ensemble chosen for back-to-back seasons of the State Dept music program. This year, they are headed to the Middle East and North Africa."

Op-Ed: RFI explaining French ways to global audience, even love and sex - Ted Lipien, "Radio France Internationale understands the need for describing in its broadcasts, and increasingly online, some of the uniqueness of French culture, politics and mores. Other state-owned media outlets do the same for their countries. U.S. could learn. Unlike some Voice of America (VOA) executives in the U.S. who seem to think that cultural differences can be ignored, (everybody wants to be like Americans after all), Radio France Internationale (RFI) reporters generally do an excellent job of explaining France to international audiences. My congratulations today go to RFI's Angela Diffley who gave RFI's English-speaking web visitors short, witty and educational look at France and its latest sort-of political scandal over President Hollande's apparently busy love life. ... VOA executives seem to think ... that the job of explaining America to the world can be left to the British-based news agency Reuters."

Russia expels US journalist David Satter without explanation: Moscow authorities ban writer from the country in first expulsion of US journalist since the cold war - Luke Harding, The Guardian: Satter first visited Moscow in 1969 as an Oxford graduate student.

Between 1976-82 he was the FT's correspondent in the city. In 1979, the authorities threatened to expel him for 'hooliganism', only to back down later. He returned to post-communist Russia in the early 1990s and went back to Moscow from the US for another stint last autumn. Satter's new role was an adviser to the broadcaster Radio Europe/Radio Free Liberty, which is funded by the US Congress. He was also working on a book on Russia's post-communist history. Satter said he had been unable to collect his notes, clothes and other belongings, which remain in his flat in central Moscow. Asked why Russia had kicked him out, Satter said he did not know the answer. Satter image from entry. See also.

BBG Demands Reversal On Russian Visa Denial For Journalist David Satter - "On behalf of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees civilian U.S. international media worldwide, BBG Chair Jeffrey Shell today issued the following statement regarding the Russian government’s refusal of a visa for David Satter. ['] The Broadcasting Board of Governors views the Russian government’s denial of a visa to David Satter, an RFE/RL journalist adviser, as gross interference in the operations of Radio Liberty.

We support the right to free speech and journalistic liberty everywhere. The BBG and the management of RFE/RL demand that this decision from Russia regarding Mr. Satter be reversed. Russian journalists from RT and other media are able to work in the United States without interference or censorship. We insist on the same for our journalists and our broadcasts in Russia [']." Image from. See also.

CUSIB Statement on Denial of Visa by Russia to David Satter - "Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is appalled by the Russian Government’s denial of visa to distinguished American journalist and advisor to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) David Satter. We share RFE/RL President Kevin Klose’s expressions of concern. We hope Moscow will reconsider its unfortunate decision. Any further Russian Government’s actions against any RFE/RL journalists will be met with vigorous protests from all media freedom organizations, including ours, CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan and CUSIB co-founder Ted Lipien said in a statement."

Why Voice of America Should Not Have Ignored Religious Freedom Message from President Obama to Orthodox Christians in Egypt - BBG Watcher, bbgwatch: "9. Administration and U.S. Congress Focus on Religious Freedom As Important Goal of U.S. Foreign Policy The Voice of America is not required to be a mouthpiece for the Administration or the Congress or to actively engage in public diplomacy abroad on behalf of the United States, but it is required by law to report news as well as to “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.”

EU political changes create unique opportunity for stakeholders - Michael Carney, "Within the EU, the institutions recognize their responsibility to inform and involve the people of Europe. Beyond its borders, Europe provides development assistance and promotes democracy, yet its young diplomatic arm is still overshadowed by member states. As EU delegations take on more of the functions traditionally associated with those embassies, they will have to find new ways to go beyond the norm and engage in a dialogue with foreign publics.

There is a strong tradition of such 'public diplomacy' in Europe, where the forerunner of the EU serves for some practitioners as a powerful example of the benefits of nontraditional diplomacy. This is what will define Europe to new generations around the world. And make no mistake about it: the EU’s “brand” is subject to the vicissitudes of public opinion. In Canada, for example, favorable opinions of the EU dropped from 73% in 2007 to 57% in 2013. Regardless of the cause, that’s a significant change. At the same time, it is even more important for non-European stakeholders to participate in the policy-heavy conversations that are taking place in Brussels." Image from entry, with caption: A member of the EU Parliament gives a thumb up as he takes part in a vote during a plenary session at the European Parliament.

Religious radicalism threatens Kosovo - "The Pristina daily Zëri has kindly given permission for republication in English of this interview with Petrit Selimi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kosovo: "With 2013 behind us, can you make a list of accomplishments and commitments that have not been completed and that are to be fulfilled this year? I am happy with the work done during 2013. We started some interesting processes within my work portfolio in public diplomacy and these results were also recognized by the international community and partners of Kosovo diplomacy. Even in the field of interfaith dialogue as an element of public diplomacy as well as in the digital diplomacy we had a year with measurable results, receiving high praise from around the world. Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe development bank is also very important to the penetration of Kosovo’s multilateral diplomacy and its strategic objectives, although few commented on it. Recognitions of Kosovo’s statehood during 2013 are also important. ... Religious radicalism is problem number one and the greatest risk to the national interests in the long run. Corruption and organized crime present also great problems to all Balkan countries, but we have the additional element that is used as hostile propaganda against Kosovo – that supposedly we are a fertile territory for terrorism and religious radicalism. I believe that those who speak today in absolutist terms about religion and who do not focus on diversity and tolerance – all of them add water to the mill of Serbian propaganda."

The legal case for Judea and Samaria - Nadav Shragai, "Alan Baker, an attorney and a member of the Levy Committee ... The former Israeli ambassador to Canada, Baker heads a new group of experts in international law which has already written to Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in protest of their 'mistaken and misleading' positions. ...'The Israeli government for years has refrained from waging a hasbara (public diplomacy) campaign based on advancing our rights,' Baker said. 'Instead, it has waged a hasbara campaign based on apologies. The right thing to do was to operate out of a sense of advancing our rights, the rights of the Jewish people as an indigenous nation in its land.' Baker said Israel 'has refrained from emphasizing that what we are dealing with is not occupation.'”

Israel Is Probably The Most Unbeatable Army In The World [...]: The significance of the Six Day War - "Many of the most important events in the Middle East are ahead of us. I think there will be more major confrontations that will similarly change the situation and the mentality of the people involved. I think that Hezbollah will eventually be destroyed or sent into exile from Lebanon. The Palestinians will one day have to choose between radicalism and pragmatism, and it may be a violent choice. Syria will disintegrate, and Egypt has to arrive at a more democratic way of government or face upheaval. Jordan will distance itself from its nutty fellow Arab strongmen. Israel has to learn as much from its foreign policy and public diplomacy blunders as it does from military setbacks."

Yaakov Kirschen, ‘Jerusalem Post’ cartoonist, wins Bonei Zion award - Sam Sokol, Benji Rosen, Jerusalem Post: "Jerusalem Post columnist and solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz was also recognized by Nefesh B’ Nefesh [a private organization that runs Israel’s immigration operations in North America] for his work in the technology sector. Calling Abramowitz 'the founding father of Israel’s $20 billion solar market,' the aliya organization stated that the American immigrant 'embodies positive and powerful hasbara (public diplomacy) as his efforts showcase Israel – and by extension the Jewish people – as a compassionate driven provider of renewable energy development for the betterment of the world.'”

Culture Post: Basketball Diplomacy in CNN’s Court - R.S. Zaharna, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Sports diplomacy is often presented as a slam dunk approach for building relations across political divides. Last week veteran NBA star Dennis Rodman took a shot at 'basketball diplomacy' in North Korea and showed how professed good intentions can go afoul. It also demonstrated the deft role of the media as the tables turned on the NBA players following a confrontational interview between Rodman and CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo. The NBA players not only lost control of the ball but became the ball on CNN’s court." [PDPR compiler note: my comment to this interesting piece was identified as "spam" by USC PD when I submitted to Dr. Zaharna's thoughtful article. The harmless piece at].

CPD’s New Year’s Resolutions - Jay Wang, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "As CPD enters its 10th year, our mission remains the same. Our work continues to be guided by a global vision, a drive to integrate research and practice for distinctive social impact, and a commitment to preparing the next generation of public diplomacy leaders and practitioners. We share your belief that public diplomacy plays a crucial and expanding role in fostering peaceful, productive relations between nations and peoples. 1. Sharpen research focus ... 2. Strengthen global PD community ... 3. Transform research into practice ... 4. Expand editorially ... 5. Enhance digital capabilities ... 6. Broaden audience segments both domestically and internationally ... 7. Enlarge our support base." See also.

International Relations Seminar Spring 2014 Purvis - "There will be four major components of the seminar. ... I.  Focus on context and concepts in international relations – past, present, future ... This segment will include ... Power – Elements of power, limits of power, arrogance of power; Soft power, public diplomacy."

After the Virsarjian - " Sagar Shiriskar is a photographer, works on various documentary and fiction films after having finished his post-graduate studies at the Film and Television Institute of India. ... Travel Photo Competition

by the Get Lost magazine, Australia. He also won the India Is- Photography Challenge 2012 (Series 3), an initiative by the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), supported by Incredible India." Image from entry


How Muslim Women Should Dress In Public (Not That It's Any Of My Business) [includes video] - "I probably know more foreigners than I do Americans.

But, people, please respect the f-o-r-e-i-g-n, and do not assume that foreigners all around the world just naturally like the same things you like, or want the same things you want. They have their own ideas about that." Image from entry

How to poison the Iran talks: A push in Congress for new sanctions complicates already delicate nuclear negotiations - Editorial, If the current negotiations fail or Iran reneges on its commitments, there will be ample time for Congress to enact new sanctions.

Meanwhile, the best congressional insurance policy for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is patience. Image from entry, with caption: An Iranian technician is seen at the International Atomic Energy Agency inspecting the site of the uranium conversion plant in Isfahan, Iran in 2007.

Another Step Toward Nuclear Sanity in Iran - Editorial, New York Times: There are no guarantees that the next six months will produce a final deal that permanently restrains Iran from a nuclear weapon, but the interim deal at least offers hope for one.

Improving Russia's Image in the U.S. - Alexander Petrov, The Moscow Times: Fifty-seven percent of Mayak radio station listeners polled have a negative attitude ­toward the U.S., 18 percent hold a positive attitude and 26 percent did not express an opinion either way. Gallup has surveyed U.S. public opinion toward Russia every year since 1989, ranking attitudes on a scale from "very positive" to "very negative." The number of those listing their attitude as "very positive" has remained stable at about 7 percent over that period, whereas those with a "very negative" attitude have risen from 25 percent to 36 percent. But when asked if they view Russia as an ally, enemy or friend, only 2 percent of respondents chose "ally" in 1991, whereas that number grew significantly to 13 percent in 2013. What's more, 25 percent of those questioned now say they have a high awareness of events in Russia, while only 14 percent list that awareness as low. There are no fundamental disagreements in U.S.-Russian relations, and the fundamental nature of those relations does not depend on whether there is a Democratic or Republican administration in the White House. Russia and the U.S. will always share common ground, and one of the tasks before scholars and politicians is to identify, maintain and develop these good relations.

How Obama is losing South Sudan - Frank R. Wolf, Washington Post: The administration has promoted a confused and at

times deeply flawed Sudan policy. Image from entry, with caption: Thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced by violence.

Boycotts are a sign of Israel’s isolation - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: "The Israel I love is increasingly hated."

Iran Hawks and Iranian Propaganda - Daniel Larison, For some reason, Iran hawks frequently take Iranian propaganda at face value.  This is typical nationalist boilerplate, and it doesn’t really tell us anything about what has happened in the negotiations with Iran.

MACBETH: 'Neo-Gothic Propaganda' Track Listing And Cover Artwork Revealed - Italian gothic metallers MACBETH will release their fifth studio album, "Neo-Gothic Propaganda", on February 24 via Dragonheart Records/Audioglobe S.R.L. Commented the band: "'Neo-Gothic Propaganda' combines a wide range of influences from classic symphonic gothic metal to scandinavian

death metal with many contemporary, heavy, dynamic and very melodic elements. Our sound has been pushed to a more extreme approach and beyond the clichés of gothic metal." "'Neo-Gothic Propaganda' is a manifesto, is a movement, is the soundtrack of contemporary decadence."


"In Russia we don't always know who is blowing up whom."

--US journalist David Satter, recently expelled from Russia


"The 9/11 attacks catalyzed a tremendous shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Rather than prioritizing petrol, Washington targeted terrorist organizations, dethroned a dictator, and lobbied throughout the region for liberalization. Yet despite the billions of dollars spent policing Baghdad and protecting Benghazi, the unpopularity of the United States in the Arab world continues to be fueled by the belief that Islamist terrorists had nothing to do with 9/11, with many claiming the attacks were an American, Israeli, or joint American-Israeli conspiracy. In this sense, overcoming 9/11 revisionism is, perhaps, the greatest challenge facing American public diplomacy in the coming decade: So long as such conspiracy theories persist, Arabs will continue to view American policies aimed at preventing 'another 9/11' as thoroughly illegitimate since, as they see it, 9/11 is just a big American lie."

--September 3, 2011 New Republic article cited at


"Nature's trick to keep the world filled."

--John Stuart Mill on love; cited in The Times Literary Supplement (January 3, 2014), p. 13


3. When the Mongols took over the known world

23. What Africa might look like if it ha never been colonized

33. The religious lines dividing today's Middle East

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