Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21 Public Diplomacy Review

“I don’t really even need George Kennan right now.”

--President Barack Obama; image from


Lenin's Legacy? - RFL/RL: "With January 21 marking 90 years since the death of Vladimir Lenin, RFE/RL asked young people from various former Soviet republics what the Bolshevik leader means to them." Via MP/JJ on Facebook


--"George Orwell died at University College Hospital, London on this day [January 21] in 1950 (aged 46)." Via GR on Facebook; see also: CJ Ciaramella, "1984: The Worst Love Story Ever Told," thefederalist.com; and John Brown, "'A Boot Stamping on a Human Face': Orwell's 1984 as a Process of Defacement." (2005)


String Repertoire and Cultural Diplomacy in Northeast Asia


Gathering Storms: The Iranian Drive for Nuclear Weapons - Andrew Harrod, frontpagemag.com: “'We betrayed them in 2009' and 'unfortunately failed to support them in any way,' was also how the Iran expert Michael Ledeen described American policy towards the Green Revolution . ... 'Bring it down…support the Iranian people,' is thus Ledeen’s policy recommendation for regime change in Iran. In fact, this “third option” between eventual acceptance of Iranian nuclear weapons and any military counter-proliferation strike is the only viable long term Iran strategy. Yet the 'folly' of the American government not contacting Iranian opposition figures amazed Ledeen, who himself regularly communicates with them. 'If I can contact them, believe me the American government can contact them,' Ledeen says.

The 'same debate' that existed during the Reagan Administration concerning the Soviet Union is replaying for Ledeen now concerning Iran. 'What are you crazy?' was the response to suggestions of greater American public diplomacy pressure upon the Soviet Union from people who considered Gorbachev 'reasonable.' Subsequently released records, however, showed how important support for Soviet dissidents was in the Soviet Union’s fall. By contrast today, Obama has been 'desperate to make a deal' with the Islamic Republic since his election campaign." Image from entry

Diplohack: where diplomats admit they're sick of talking and want a digital revolution - Liat Clark, wired.co.uk: "Måns Adler is the founder of mobile video-streaming platform Bambuser and Tech Director at digital agency Ustwo's Malmö studio. And today he's being asked to wrangle the minds of 20-odd diplomats and civil servants, each struggling to commit to a digital policy that he would not recognise as anything close to innovative or disruptive. 'What Måns doesn't realise is that we are the radicals inside our own organisations,' Graham Lampa, strategic planner for public diplomacy at the US Department of State, tells me later. 'I am radical in the eyes of my colleagues, but for me to advance in my organisation I need to be able to demonstrate to them on their terms that I am producing value. I have to deliver an action plan based in their values not in mine, I have to find an alignment of what I care about and what they care about so that we can advance things together. But I come across, because I'm wearing a tie, as a bureaucrat.' This is the problem for the majority of the attendees at the Diplohack, which took place 16-17 January as part of the Stockholm Initiative for Digital Diplomacy, held in conjunction with TedxStockholm. In the room at 13 Floragata are some of the world's most active digital diplomats -- but that doesn't mean they are the norm, nor does it mean they have been allowed to fully develop the concept of what it means to be a digital diplomat while operating under the constraints of traditional diplomacy, an industry in need of a few well-placed digital revolutionaries. The voices around the room during a group session echoed this sense of alienation. ... You can see how painful it is for some of the diplomats to break out of the mould and lose the public relations, on-the-fence, non-committal language they would be accustomed to using with the press, or even their counterparts abroad. What became clear at the Diplohack was that for all the progress being made -- from the Twitter Q&As being held by the world's best-connected leader on the social network, Carl Bildt, to the Google+ Hangouts with Instagramming Secretary of State John Kerry -- most of the individuals in the room benefitted hugely from two very basic things: talking more honestly, and listening. Translating those two things to the real world, to their nation's citizens using digital avenues, will be the harder part. ... It was agreed the community needs to focus on two-way digital communications, not just sending out messages that tow the party line, and that traditional embassies could benefit from being more like social media hubs where different expertise are brought together. ... Among the more conceptual issues discussed during team sessions was the idea of a digital embassy -- what a diplomat's work would look like if there were no physical presence to it. This was rooted, however, in a very real problem in that it's too expensive or dangerous to have a diplomatic presence in some countries.

This could mean the development of a virtual embassy, it was suggested, or a social network for meeting likeminded people from your own country when abroad. ... One thing that became clear throughout the event -- these diplomats are sick of talking and want action. Even the brief prototyping the teams did -- using Play-Doh and post-its to design ways of replacing passports with totally digitised international travel, for instance -- was enjoyed by all. (Consequently, Adler has challenged Lampa to burn his passport; Lampa diplomatically declined and suggested another nation might suit the experiment better than the US.)" Image from entry, with caption: A to-do list in progress

NSA affair: Suddenly, America is on the line - How I got a call the U.S. State Department to make because of the image effects through the NSA affair mood for America - and how I refuse [Google "translation"] - Eric Jarosinski: "e request came via Twitter. Unexpectedly. As a 'direct message' from a previously inconspicuous followers. According to his short biography: an employee of the U.S. State Department. Whether I - Americans with a known in Germany Twitter account (@ NeinQuarterly) - Lust would have to appear at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, in the service of 'public diplomacy'? Subject matter. 'Ze Germans' it said, 'love you.' Although not explicitly stated, the task seemed clear to me that I should make using my relative Twitter fame a small contribution to image-building of a country that had to exercise in damage limitation for Edward Snowden NSA revelations. Especially in Germany. ... Funny. Up to this point I had made on my Twitter account, hundreds of jokes about the NSA. Time halfway amusing, sometimes completely failed. Time critical, sometimes self-critical. Sometimes factual, sometimes absurd:  Trust is good. Snowden is better/Born in the NSA. Mad in Germany./
The Listening Post is the message./talks When Europe, America listens./Sorry, Mrs. Merkel. The line is busy./Happy New Year. Brave New World./U.S. hears everything. But not on./ Standard program, so to speak.

But perhaps not without a certain critical sharpness. Some of the jokes were good, were read and distributed a hundred thousand times or in a case of Twitter users around the world. (Even - and I was, admittedly, very proud of -. Snowden by the journalist and confidant Glenn Greenwald)... Well I was sitting on the bus in Philadelphia, smartphone in hand, and thought about this strange invitation to. My feeling: a creeping unease. If I'm honest: Maybe a little scared? A guy at the State Department sits in his office in Washington DC, read my tweets and tried to make me friendly and emphasizes casual for a lecture in an official representation of America abroad to win? Patriotism was never my thing. But what thinks the guy from me? As he imagines that? Can I? Do I have to? My answer: a polite American No ('I'll think about it'). Thus, the chapter was finished for me. Image from entry, with caption: Whether the network "good" or "bad": The reflected dealing counts.

Thailand: Tearing Apart TIME Magazine's Propaganda - landdestroyer.blogspot.com: "TIME Magazine echos Wall Street and Washington - so when it speaks, readers must listen in that context. Nothing shows the link between TIME's biased, intentionally misleading propaganda and the agenda of the corporate-financier elite that rule America better than the fact that its last managing editor left in 2013 to join the US State Department. Politico would report in its article, 'Richard Stengel leaving Time for State Department,' that: Richard Stengel, the top editor of Time magazine for the past seven years, is planning to step down as managing editor for a new job at the U.S. Department of State [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs], sources familiar with the situation tell POLITICO and Capital New York. With that in mind, readers must understand that what TIME publishes isn't reality, but rather 'reality' according to what suits US interests, and more specifically, Wall Street's interests. This explains the overt attacks by TIME against Thailand's anti-regime protesters, their current 'Occupy Bangkok' campaign, and the opposition party that is in-part leading them."

BBG, RFE/RL Condemn Journalist Beatings In Ukraine - Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) Chairman Jeff Shell and RFE/RL President and CEO Kevin Klose expressed outrage at the bloody attacks by police on dozens of journalists in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, including RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reporter Dmytro Barkar and cameraman Ihor Iskhakov.

The U.S. international media leaders demanded that Ukrainian authorities immediately investigate the incident. Images from entry, with caption: L-R, RFE/RL correspondent Dmytro Barkar and cameraman Ihor Iskhakov

Radio Beijing in the Middle East: China’s Arabic-language television and radio outreach efforts don’t compare to America’s in traditional measures like audience size. But sometimes how many people are tuning in isn’t as important as who is tuning in - Joseph Braude, the-american-interest.com: "Unlike America’s Radio Sawa or the BBC from London, CRI [China Radio International]

Arabic isn’t available on local radio in the region (with the exception of what appears to be a pilot project on FM radio in the sparsely populated North African republic of Mauritania). Nor does it figure prominently among Arabic stations hyped online. One finds it advertised in venues where Arabs already curious about China are likely to go. For example, the website of the Chinese embassy in Cairo features a link on its home page, while in person the embassy’s cultural attaché encourages the young people he meets to tune in. Some Confucius Institute chapters also disseminate links to prospective students as a kind of audio brochure. Another means of dissemination enlists Arab nationals to do the work and become long-term assets to Beijing along the way: so-called 'listener appreciation societies.' These are young people’s social clubs that appear initially to form spontaneously but grow thanks to concerted support from China.  ... All these projects, large and small, are manifestations of Chinese 'soft power' —that is, the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce. Parallel efforts by the United States over the years have sometimes encountered extreme hostility, including attacks on American libraries and English teaching facilities in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Kuwait, and Jordan. Some personnel that staff the American initiatives have endured suspicions or charges of espionage—quite unlike their Chinese counterparts. To gauge the contrast, just imagine the backlash that would await an Arab youth group in Baghdad or Gaza calling itself the 'Friends of American International Broadcasting Club,' pledging to submit 'listener reports' to the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, and collaborating with the American embassy to establish 'cooperation agreements' with the population. The harsh treatment these young people would face stems largely from America’s baggage in the Middle East following years of policies unpopular with Arab publics. China, by contrast, has never occupied an Arab country and does not face accusations of siding with Israel against the Palestinians. That said, China has also adopted policies that are deeply disliked in much of the region today, and it has paid a price in public esteem. ... Like American public diplomacy efforts in the Arab world, the Confucius Institute—the franchise of Chinese educational facilities that was promoted in the Arabic CRI broadcast—also encounters opposition in some countries where it maintains a presence. The flak tends to come not from developing countries but from the world’s wealthier democratic states. ... China, in assuring Arab governments that it has no designs on their political systems, manages to fend off orders from on high to slander the country or its institutions. Rather than attempt to compete with indigenous broadcasts, moreover, it partners with them. ... Of course, the idea of providing similar assurances to an authoritarian state (even an allied one) risks compromising America’s democratic values and poses a problem for American efforts in and out of government to foster independent media in the region. Nor, for that matter, would a strategy of partnership with official media structures sit well with American media executives raised on free market ideals and accustomed to viewing a media venture through the prism of the ratings game. But present circumstances in the region invite us to consider new ways to apply our values to our policies. Extremist transnational movements are making strides toward weakening states and eroding borders, and we must work to stop them. An important part of doing that is supporting the institutions of Arab states with which the United States is allied. Through media partnerships, Americans can gain a seat at the table, where they can then challenge the production of propaganda that would harm American interests. More important, Americans can use their access to more freely engage Arab journalists, editors, and television writers in creating education and training media that build up egalitarianism, tolerance, and civil society. In the long run, such a consensual approach will be more effective in advancing American ideals than persisting in a costly 'battle of the networks' that has no clear endgame." Image from

Rebranding America: Can the U.S. Sell Itself to International Tourists? Facing new competition from countries like Brazil and Turkey, the U.S. has launched its first national tourism campaign overseas. Is it working? [includes "Land of Dreams" video] - Michael Scaturro, Atlantic: "The 'Discover America, Land of Dreams' ad campaign is the product of a joint venture between the U.S. government and tourism industry.

The entity behind the campaign is called Brand USA, and it aims to attract international tourists who have been turned off to America as a vacation destination. ... So, is the campaign working? Madison [Anne Madison of Brand USA] says yes. Intent to travel to the U.S.—an industry term meaning the likelihood of a person booking a trip within the next few months—has risen by 22 percent in Canada, 12 percent in the U.K., and 14 percent in Japan since 2012, Madison said. ... The next phase of the project is to train U.S. border guards to be nicer to visitors, and to improve the visa application experience at U.S. embassies around the world. 'In the coming year, we are going to be putting more and more energy into making the U.S. more welcoming,' Madison explained. ... [C]ritics of Brand USA say the Discover America push is unfair because it levies a tax on international visitors for the very ad campaign meant to attract them. They also take issue with government involvement in the funding of tourism promotion abroad, and maintain that the travel industry could fund the program on its own. 'How do you brand a country as diverse as the States? It’s not like Coke and Dr. Pepper.' But country-branding expert Tom Buncle notes that government funding for tourism promotion is standard practice. Image from

Public Diplomacy: Why It Matters and How It Works - nippon.com: Kent Calder: "Public diplomacy efforts are an increasingly vital part of Japan’s diplomatic outreach, particularly in the light of friction between it and its neighbors over territorial and historical issues. On November 5, 2013, we [evidently nippon.com] cohosted 'The Popularity of Nations: How and Why Governments Seek Public Approval Abroad,' a symposium to explore public diplomacy questions. Kent Calder, director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, gave the keynote address printed below. [Calder:] I think there are several avenues of thought to pursue in connection with public diplomacy. The first is its importance as a tool for understanding. We can’t go out to present our own ideas without understanding where the other country is coming from. So understanding and monitoring is important. Secondly, public diplomacy is increasingly important as civil society rises and becomes more volatile, and as diplomatic orientations become more fluid.

Thirdly, the methods through which we try to achieve these objectives are crucial, but one size doesn’t fit all, and the imperatives are increasingly varied. Fourthly, speed and sensitivity are increasingly vital. When I was in the embassy, we faced the question of the Ehime Maru—the tragic case of a Japanese fishing boat that was hit by a US submarine. The world was changing so fast, and we had to respond quickly and with sincerity. In that regard, there’s real value in being on the ground and being sensitive to very rapid developments. In this sense, a strong local presence in the host country can turn out to be quite important, as well as roles for host country citizens. In conclusion, I think the Olympics are presenting Japan with a tremendous opportunity to innovate, to broadcast, to present its message to the world. That said, it also has to understand the concerns of the outside world." Uncaptioned image from entry

Europe condemns the violence in Ukraine - Emma Murphy, itv.com: "According to Judy Dempsey at Carnegie Europe, the EU now needs to help Ukraine and its protesters find a way forward. 'The EU can help Ukraine by doing two things,' she says. 'First, it should embark on an aggressive public diplomacy campaign by stepping up its support for the opposition’s online and media presence, as well as for Ukraine’s civil society movements. Despite Yanukovych’s laws against Western funding for non-governmental organisations, the EU should persist

and defend the values it espouses. Second, the EU should push forward with highly visible aid programmes. These could include help for hospitals and clean water, measures to support the poor, school and university exchange programmes, and anti-corruption and rule-of-law campaigns. There is time for the opposition and the EU to make a difference in Ukraine before the 2015 presidential election. Both should seize that chance.'" Image from entry, with caption: Ukrainian riot police are hit by a petrol bomb during riots.

Xi's trip to Sochi supports Olympics, boosts China-Russia ties - english.peopledaily.com.cn: "Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia at President Vladimir Putin's invitation, China's Foreign Ministry said Monday. This will be Xi's first foreign trip in 2014 and the first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event, demonstrating China's strong support for the Olympics and Russia's effort to host the games. It also underscores the importance China attaches to the development of Sino-Russia ties. ... As the first visit by a Chinese president to a major sports event abroad, Xi's trip to Sochi is another diplomatic innovation by the Chinese new leadership. Chinese leaders are paying increasing attention to public diplomacy, public opinion and direct communication with people in other countries. Experts say this fits with the development of the modern world. 'Nowadays, some countries are worried about China. That is because they do not have enough understanding of us. The participation of Chinese leaders in public diplomacy will help China play a bigger role in the international community,' Ruan said. Overall, Xi's attendance at the Sochi Olympics will help China further burnish its image as a peacefully developing country, and the world to better understand China in a more comprehensive way."

Cultural diplomacy in the Turbine Hall? - Will Gompertz, BBC News: "This morning [January 20], the culture secretary Maria Miller announces that Tate Modern has entered an 11-year deal with the Hyundai motor company to sponsor its ongoing series of Turbine Hall commissions. The aircraft hangar-like space has been home to some of the most popular art installations of this century - from Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth, which opened up a fearsome fissure in the floor, to Ai Weiwei's audacious scheme to fill the hall with millions of porcelain seeds (a work the gallery subsequently bought). But it is highly unusual for any company to sign up to an 11-year sponsorship. The norm is a three-year deal, sometimes it can be five, but 11 is extraordinary.

And very risky. ... I suspect there's more to Hyundai's Tate Modern sponsorship than simply attempting to shift brand perceptions, or to deliver its stated corporate mission, which is to 'realise the dream of mankind by creating a new future through ingenious thinking and continuously challenging new frontiers'. The South Korean press were reporting in November that Hyundai had come to a similar long-term arrangement with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. The sponsorship is reported to include a significant extra sum of money to help develop and promote contemporary Korean art and artists, and help them find an international audience. It's possible this deal is as much about cultural diplomacy as it is about corporate sponsorship." Image from entry, with caption: Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds installation was a big draw at the Turbine Hall in 2010.

Dennis No Solution to Cultural Chill of Youth - Adam Cathcart,dailynk.com: "Enter Dennis Rodman, whose image, should we be optimists, is fused with pre-existing North Korean notions of cultural opening to the West. Rodman’s visits are part farce, but they are also of a piece with serious previous U.S. and Western European efforts in cultural diplomacy towards North Korea, and should be considered important as a barometer for how open Kim Jong Eun is willing to be. Rodman was again allowed to take the microphone, but in fact his team appeared to interact with a very small number of North Korean youth; those who had already reached the highest possible level in their practice."

Green diplomacy - Deepti Mahajan Mittal - khaleejtimes.com: "The ABU Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) has emerged as a landmark congregation of energy and environment stakeholders. While the substantive advantages of such an exchange — spread of scientific know-how and business-generation — is significant, the ADSW is also an important element of the UAE’s green public diplomacy effort. ... The UAE has sponsored small RE projects in Seychelles and Tonga. It has also established funds offering concessional loan facilities for Pacific islands and for IRENA developing countries. These programmes not only strengthen the UAE’s political and economic ties with these countries but also generate public goodwill. In today’s information environment where there is a proliferation of sources, well-designed and well-implemented public diplomacy initiatives have helped the country formulate and enhance its image as a supporter of public welfare and international sustainable development. One important advantage of public diplomacy efforts is that these initiatives speak to political leaders and bureaucrats along with the larger community of investors, business persons, civil society activists and world citizens. In some cases, direction of messages from a government to international public audiences can cut through the hostility prevalent in counterpart bureaucracies. It can go a long way in informing and altering public opinion — the diplomatic genius that made Vladimir Putin 'speak directly to' Barack Obama and the American people through a New York Times Op-ed at the height of the Syrian crisis in 2013. On the other hand, public diplomacy efforts are often criticised for being akin to manipulative public relations exercises. This view finds its genesis in the very real possibility of states deploying such initiatives to lend credence to misinformation in the game of diplomatic one-upmanship and to garner legitimacy for unpopular foreign policy objectives. Yet public diplomacy, including instances such as the UAE’s support to overseas RE projects and facilitation of multilateral dialogues, remains crucial to a country’s international public profile. What is being served is the cause of environmental awareness, business-to-business linkages and scientific advancement. Like individuals and corporations, states too need to invest in building perceptions through action-oriented programmes and wider communication of policies. The UAE’s green diplomacy is geared towards these objectives and has the potential to further yield scientific, developmental and economic 

Palestinians vs. Pro-Palestinian Israelis - Khaled Abu Toameh, gatestoneinstitute.org: "Israeli peace activists who arrived in Ramallah recently were forced to leave the city under Palestinian Authority [PA] police protection. The activists were escorted out of Ramallah in police vans after Palestinian protesters attacked the hotel where a 'peace conference' between Israelis and Palestinians was taking place. The event in Ramallah was organized by Minds of Peace, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is 'Grassroots Peace Making and Public Diplomacy: A novel approach to the peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.' Although the event in Ramallah was supposed to last for two days, during which Israelis and Palestinians

would talk about peace and coexistence, as soon as the conference began at City Inn Hotel in Ramallah, scores of Palestinian activists arrived at the scene, chanting slogans against the presence of Israelis in Ramallah. ‘Israelis out, out! Palestine is Arab, from the sea to the river,’ shouted one a female protester. ‘This land is not for sale!’ shouted another protester, as he tried to force his way into the conference hall." Image from entry, with caption: Palestinian protesters try to force their way into the "Minds for Peace" conference in Ramallah.

The Daily: The Pope Had a Very Good Year - Michael Ardaiolo, thepublicdiplomat.com [January 16]: Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

Russia as Enfant Terrible in the Eye Of the ”Others” - Irina Kotkina, balticworlds.com: "The 13th Annual Aleksanteri Conference 'Russia and the World', which took place in the main building of the University of Helsinki, October 23–25, was dedicated first and foremost to Russian foreign policy. There were more than 40 academic panels at the conference, and five plenary sessions: Russia’s Place in the World; Russia and the EU: From Cooperation to Partnership: Moving beyond the Russia-EU Deadlock; Russia and International Relations Theory; Choices and Necessities of Security Policy for the 21st Century; and Russia’s Futures.

One of the 'hottest' themes, the Arctic, was discussed at the panel Russia and the Arctic. At the present time, Russia is trying again to make sense of its Arctic territories, and of the Northern Sea Way, notwithstanding the fact that it demands huge resources, human and material investments, and diplomatic efforts. The problems and international consequences of Russian polar activity became the topic for lively discussion. More theoretical and methodological issues were talked about at the session on Russia’s public diplomacy as a soft power. The issue of what to consider 'soft power' was examined. More generally, there were discussions of what Mikhail Prozorov called 'soft-power capital' — Russian culture, the 'Russian world' movement, the 'Rossotrudnichestvo' organization — as instruments in cross-cultural dialogue with neighboring and Western countries." Image from entry

New article by Pope: Public diplomacy, international news media and London 2012 -  cosmopolitanismTM - newpolcom.rhul.ac.uk: "Mark Pope, a PhD student at the New Political Communication Unit, has published a peer-reviewed journal article entitled Public diplomacy, international news media and London 2012: cosmopolitanismTM in Sport and Society. To download a copy click here. Abstract: This article investigates the nature of cosmopolitanism in the production and reception of public diplomacy discourse surrounding London 2012. It focuses on three actors: the UK Government, the International Olympic Committee and the international news media. It finds that UK public diplomacy actors and their partners were focused more on the promotion of a competitive identity, albeit a cosmopolitan one, than engagement.

It argues that the cosmopolitanism evident in the discourse was a form of branded cosmopolitanism, and, ultimately, this limited the success of UK public diplomacy in achieving its aims. This style of communication – that was evident across the discourse surrounding London 2012 – was exclusionary of key actors to UK public diplomacy objectives. Applying a form of critical discourse analysis, the ideology surrounding the Olympic ideal is revealed as significant to maintaining uncritical acceptance of exclusions and conspicuous contradictions." Image from entry

Michael McClellan Named Diplomat-In-Residence At WKU - wkunews.wordpress.com: "A veteran diplomat with the U.S. Department of State will be helping WKU further internationalize its campus. Michael McClellan will join WKU on Feb. 1 as diplomat-in-residence. The position is a partnership between the Potter College of Arts & Letters and the Office of International Programs. “This new position will strengthen the International Reach part of our mission, both on campus and in the community,” Craig T. Cobane, WKU’s Chief International Officer, said.

“Mr. McClellan will work with both WKU students and local high school students to help them understand and pursue career and scholarship opportunities in diplomacy, government, international relations and non-governmental organizations.” Potter College Dean David Lee said, “Mr. McClellan has impressive academic and diplomatic credentials, and I’m delighted that our students will have this opportunity to work with him.” McClellan has been with the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency since 1984. ... McClellan’s responsibilities will include ... conducting public diplomacy and outreach to area high schools to make those students aware of the international and educational opportunities available at WKU." McClelland image from entry

Becoming a Foreign Service Officer - Joshua Goldstein, internationalrelations.com: "The following guest post from International Relations Online, a free online resource for those interested in careers in International Relations, may interest many current students. ... Public Diplomacy Officers are experts in cross-cultural relations who promote U.S. values, policies, and interests abroad."


U.S. Consul General in Naples: “Neapolitan Nookie Campaign” - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: For those who have enjoyed our coverage of the allegations of sex, false expense claims and forced resignations at the U.S. Consulate in Naples (and if you have not read the story, catch up here and here), this remains the story that keeps on giving, or getting, or that kind of thing. One of  [Consul General Donald] Moore’s colleagues, perhaps the only he did not actually have sex with at the office, has now filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry in the Eastern District of New York (Case 2:14-cv-00194-ADS-AKT). The plaintiff, Kerry Howard, tried to get someone at the U.S. Consulate in Naples to care about what was going on around her, or in the U.S. Embassy in Rome to care, or at the State Department in Washington. The lawsuit offers some new goodies, among them: That Moore was known to have been “forcing the language instructor to have an abortion of Moore’s child” and that “throughout his tenure as Consul General in the Naples Consulate, Donald Moore was running the U.S. Consulate as the largest house of prostitution in southern Italy, one which had only one customer, the Consul General.”
Il Mattino (a Naples newspaper) has a headline “Bunga-Bunga Consulato Americano.” 

Mattino logo
Napoli | Bunga Bunga al consolato Usa. Dall'America mandano i Marines a presidiare l'ingresso
Bunga-Bunga is apparently an Italian term for the horizontal mambo. One Italian paper, Corriere Del Mezzogiorno, ran with the headline “Sexygate al Consolato USA.” The influential Times of London headlined “Prostitution ‘rampant’ at US consulate in Naples.” It is safe to say that these stories are not adding to America’s image abroad. Headline from

Krugman and the Ayatollahs: Crude obfuscation is the stock in trade of many political actors. Not so the president of Iran - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: President Obama fantasizes about making an opening to Tehran the way Nixon did with China. For now, there isn't a more dishonest line in Washington than the one that says "all options are on the table" when it comes to stopping Iran's nukes.

Kerry’s spine stiffens, but too little and too late - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: By inaction we have allowed Assad to solidify his position and his senior partners in Iran to gain confidence as they defy the West and make strides toward a nuclear weapon.

Kennedy's dolphin tweet not so diplomatic - Kirk Spitzer, USA Today: As if the Japanese don't have enough problems, now they're being dissed by their favorite new ambassador – via Twitter, no less. In office just two months, U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy took to social media this weekend to condemn an annual dolphin hunt in western Japan portrayed by opponents as needlessly cruel.

"Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries," Kennedy tweeted in both English and Japanese. The message seemed to catch both officials and public here by surprise. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga defended the dolphin hunt at a regular press conference Monday as "in accordance with the law." Image from entry

A Tale of Two Reports: The Guardian’s Propaganda on Syria and Israel - globalresearch.ca: Today saw the release of a report, commissioned by the regime in Qatar via the law firm Carter Ruck, alleging the systematic mass killing and torture of detainees by the Assad regime in Syria. Up to 11, 000 people, and perhaps more, could have died in this fashion, according to the report. Given that it was commissioned by the regime in Qatar – which is a key backer of certain Syrian rebel groups – and that it has been released immediately prior to the Geneva peace conference scheduled to begin this week, some have questioned the intent of the report. Quite reasonably, if you ask me. Is it an attempt by Qatar to, simply, document regime abuses in the hope of securing justice for the victims, and furthering the cause of human rights in Syria?

Carnal Carnivals of Song and Dance: London’s Dark Musicals ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Stephen Ward’ - Ben Bratley, New York Times: “American Psycho,” at the Almeida Theater in Islington, is the Headlong company’s hit adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s notorious

1991 novel about a serial-killing yuppie. Adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Duncan Sheik, this lurid tale of a well-dressed, ax-wielding stockbroker in late-20th-century Manhattan is often a hoot, if not quite the unsettling “musical thriller” it’s been advertised as. Image from entry, with caption: Holly James and Matt Smith in “American Psycho” by the Headlong theater company of London, based on the notorious 1991 novel


... Obama came to power without foreign-policy experience; but he won the election, in part, by advocating a foreign-policy sensibility that was wary of American overreach. If George W. Bush’s foreign policy was largely a reaction to 9/11, Obama’s has been a reaction to the reaction. He withdrew American forces from Iraq. He went to Cairo in 2009, in an attempt to forge “a new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world. American troops will come home from Afghanistan this year. As he promised in his first Presidential campaign—to the outraged protests of Hillary Clinton and John McCain alike—he has extended a hand to traditional enemies, from Iran to Cuba. And he has not hesitated in his public rhetoric to acknowledge, however subtly, the abuses, as well as the triumphs, of American power. He remembers going with his mother to live in Indonesia, in 1967—shortly after a military coup, engineered with American help, led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. This event, and the fact that so few Americans know much about it, made a lasting impression on Obama. He is convinced that an essential component of diplomacy is the public recognition of historical facts—not only the taking of American hostages in Iran, in 1979, but also the American role in the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, in 1953. The right’s response has been to accuse Obama of conducting a foreign policy of apology. ... Obama may resist the idealism of a previous generation of interventionists, but his realism, if that’s what it is, diverges from the realism of Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft. “It comes from the idea that change is organic and change comes to countries in its own way, modernization comes in its own way, rather than through liberation narratives coming from the West,” Fareed Zakaria, a writer on foreign policy whom Obama reads and consults, says. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who worked at the State Department as Hillary Clinton’s director of policy planning, says, “Obama has a real understanding of the limits of our power. It’s not that the United States is in decline; it’s that sometimes the world has problems without the tools to fix them.” ... Obama told me that what he needs isn’t any new grand strategy—“I don’t really even need George Kennan right now”—but, rather, the right strategic partners. “There are currents in history and you have to figure out how to move them in one direction or another,” Rhodes said. “You can’t necessarily determine the final destination. . . . The President subscribes less to a great-man theory of history and more to a great-movement theory of history—that change happens when people force it or circumstances do.” (Later, Obama told me, “I’m not sure Ben is right about that. I believe in both.”) ...


"The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people."

--Marijuana Resource Center, whitehouse.gov; via

"I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

--President Barack Obama, regarding marijuana. See also John Brown, "Why all this stuff about weed?"  Notes and Essays


--From: "Garage Magazine Editor-In-Chief Dasha Zhukova Sits On A 'Black Woman' Chair In Shocking Editorial (PHOTO)," Huffington Post. Via MT on Facebook. See also: 9 Myths About Travel to Russia - Oxana Salazar, russianlife.com: "7. Russians are racist. Sorry, no. Russians are actually very open-minded. It may be true that they speak about others in a manner that is not 'politically correct' in your home country, but this does not mean that they have bad intentions. And it can be a good basis for long and interesting discussions on politics, social issues and economics." Via BB on Facebook

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