Friday, February 14, 2014

February 24 Public Diplomacy Review

--Image from MT on facebook


Diplomat Buyers Club: Is there a rule ambassadors can't have set foot in the countries they are going to ambassador? [last segment features outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Russia McFaul] - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; via FHK on Facebook. See also


Iran’s the Problem - Lee Smith, Weekly Standard: "Obama has tied America’s position in the Middle East to partnering with Iran, which itself has partnered with actors the White House deems the main threat to U.S. national security. Nonetheless, the White House continues to see the regional conflict simplistically. As Obama puts it, what we’re watching unfold is a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites in which the United States should avoid taking sides.

This is also Iran’s version of the war, promulgated in part to keep the White House on the sidelines. It’s a multipurpose public diplomacy campaign intended also to galvanize Iran’s Shia base across the region and destabilize Sunni-majority regimes. Sectarianism is a significant factor in Middle East conflicts, but the fundamental fact is that Iran is a -revolutionary regime. It means to overturn the regional status quo, the American-backed order of the Middle East, and sideline the United States once and for all. In this effort, al Qaeda, along with Hezbollah and various other Iranian-backed terrorist organizations, can all be useful to Tehran." Image from

Divided Asia: Implications For Europe - Francois Godement, "As long as the Obama administration hesitated over trade issues during its first term, the EU seemed to be maintaining parity with the US. This is probably no longer the case. In terms of public diplomacy and discursive power, the US is back in the lead."

Kerry 美 Secretary of State, a surprise visit Tong market, rice cake taste "Very good" [Google "translation"]: "John Kerry, the 13th Secretary of the U.S. Department of State, Jongno-gu, Seoul had a surprise visit Tong market. U.S. Embassy official 13 days via Twitter and Facebook, "said John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State officials, South Korea, and to divide the discussion of regional issues The experiment with Korea's scenery is left Korea after a busy schedule, "said" Kerry, a surprise visit by the Minister of Tong Tong market, specialty market 'oil rice cake "tasted," he said. Kerry visited Korea in 10 months the President and Secretary hye evening after discussion with Ambassador Kim, Jongno-gu, Seoul St. Tong reportedly been found in the market. This rice cake to taste Oil Minister Carey 'Very good', 'Thank You' to draw attendants shouting for rights to be conveyed rice cake. Secretary Kerry Tong tasted oil market is the specialty of rice cake known as a minister of the United States over the country's senior officials visited traditional markets and shabby restaurant to find

it is not uncommon to share physical contact. Public Diplomacy (public diplomacy) is part of. U.S. Treasury Secretary Lou Jacob in March last year when he visited Beijing, China Embassy of the United States during the week of the dumpling shop around 20,000 won in our old money has never been a cheap Discover Secretary Kerry after this move to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building yunbyeongse after having talks with Foreign Minister to China embarked Tuesday morning. Consultation with the Secretary of Carrie wooricheuk Chinese side, and based on what seems to be to discuss North Korea." Image from entry, with caption: John Kerry is the 13th United States Secretary of State, Seoul eating a rice cake to find Tong market.Secretary Kerry found the market immediately after the presidential prevention.

U.S. Department of State Announces St. Petersburg Sports Envoy Program - "In conjunction with the 2014 Winter Olympics, the U.S. Department of State announces a figure skating Sports Envoy program, February 15–18 in St. Petersburg, Russia, featuring reigning Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and 2010 Winter Olympian Rachael Flatt. Sports exchanges are a key component of the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s efforts to strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and Russia. The duo will celebrate the 140th anniversary of modern figure skating introduced in Russia by American skater and ballet dancer, Jackson Haines. Lysacek will travel to St. Petersburg from Sochi, where he is working as an Olympic analyst. The 2010 gold medalist last served as a Sports Envoy on behalf of the United States in Belarus and Sweden in 2012. He will be accompanied by Flatt, a Stanford University student who competed in the Vancouver Games in 2010. While in Sochi, Lysacek and Flatt will conduct clinics with local youth athletes of all skill levels and abilities, and will engage university audiences on healthy living, the spirit of the Olympics, and the ability of sports to bring together people regardless of culture or background. Since 2003, the State Department has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from more than 60 countries to the United States to participate in sports visitor programs while sending over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries on sports envoy programs. By overseeing the State Department’s sports diplomacy programming, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs involves traditionally underrepresented audiences. To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics and sports diplomacy, please enjoy Olympic Figure Skater and U.S. State Department Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy Michelle Kwan’s video address here:
Follow the sports envoy program using @sportsdiplomacy on Twitter or the hashtags #Sochi2014 and #TeamUSA."

Let Us Now Praise the SPLC, Sort Of - Jerry Kammer, Center for Immigration Studies: "In December 2011, we at the Center for Immigration Studies published a 38-page investigative report on the State Department program that issues J-1 visas to foreign college students so they can do seasonal work in the United States. The report, 'Cheap Labor as Cultural Exchange', began with bullet-point criticisms that the report fleshed out in detail. We showed that the

Summer Work Travel Program (SWT): ... Has monetized a foreign policy initiative, creating a multi-million dollar SWT industry that generates enormous profits under the mantle of public diplomacy and presses for continual expansion around globe." Image from

It’s a Mobile World: How Public Diplomacy at State Department is Adapting - Erica Malouf, "Any innovation in technology that changes how people communicate and access information will have important implications for how the State Department can reach the public. And focusing on digital makes sense for all of their current audiences, both in the beltway and abroad, as more people everywhere are accessing information from mobile devices. The Office of Innovative Engagement (OIE), directed by Hilary [Brandt], is helping the agency understand and adapt to this always evolving digital world.

OIE is in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), headed by Macon Phillips. Phillips, the new Coordinator for IIP, is heading the charge for a digital first approach. ... There is a clear understanding in the department that being able to use new tools effectively is a necessary part of public diplomacy these days. Hilary’s office holds a monthly meeting called Tech Society about 'cool, new digital tools' that provides internal thought leadership on what is coming next in the tech industry and how it can be used to better engage current and future audiences. The department wants to be ready to reach the next billion people to access the Internet." Image from entry

Stengel to Represent Secretary of State to BBG - "Former Time magazine editor Richard Stengel will join the Broadcasting Board of Governors as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He was nominated to the position in September, 2013 and confirmed by the Senate on February 11. By law, the Secretary of State serves as an ex-officio member of the BBG and representing the secretary on the board has been a traditional duty of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Stengel has served as the managing editor of Time magazine since 2006, overseeing the magazine,, Time Books and Time for Kids. Stengel received the News and Documentary Emmy Award in 2012 for’s 'Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience,' on which he served as executive producer. In 2010, he was awarded Citizen of the Year at the Annual National Conference on Citizenship and the 2010 Lifetime of Idealism Award. He has also authored several books, including 'Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life.' Stengel was the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia from 2004 to 2006. In 2000, Stengel served as a senior adviser and chief speechwriter for Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign."

For real‘Monument Woman,’ saving Afghan treasures is unglamorous but richly rewarding - Katherine Boyle, Washington Post: "[Laura] Tedesco’s work at the State Department illustrates the modern saga that accompanies preserving culture during a prolonged and complicated war. Tedesco, 44, is a cultural heritage program manager, the bureaucratic title for an archeologist tasked with identifying ancient Afghan sites in need of restoration. And she’s not alone in her work.

While State invests in restoring ancient sites around Afghanistan as a tenet of the agency’s public diplomacy mission, the Department of Defense employs archeologists to teach soldiers how to avoid destroying them. ... Over 12 years, the [State] [D]epartment has invested $15 million in archeological and cultural preservation in Afghanistan, funding projects alongside international partners, including the German government and private foundations. One of its large-scale projects was the restoration of the Herat Citadel, an impressive monument that dates to 330 B.C. Over five years, the United States invested $1.2 million to restore a site the size of a football stadium. ... While the State Department aims to preserve sites, the U.S. military has another job: to avoid them. ... Cultural heritage became a priority for the U.S. military after the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon was damaged by a Marine base built on the sensitive site in 2003." Tedesco image from entry

Obama’s ‘secret war’ and diplomacy game plan - Satur C. Ocampo, The Philippine Star: "I received from the Peace for Life secretariat an article, titled 'America’s Secret War in 134 Countries,' written by Nick Turse and published in The Nation on Jan. 16, 2014. The article details how US Special Operations forces (SOFs) have become a 'growing form of overseas power projection,' with their phenomenally increased deployment — 123% — to 134 countries under Obama’s watch, from only 60 countries towards the end of the Bush administration in 2008. This new form of power projection, the article points out, is in addition to conventional wars and a CIA-led drone war (in Afghanistan and Pakistan), public diplomacy, and extensive electronic spying (as exposed by the National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden)."

Good Ship USA - a remembrance of Ambassador Shirley Temple Black - Markos Kounalakis, PD News–CPD Blog, US Center on Public Diplomacy: "I’m a Shirley Temple fan. Not a big fan of her movies; they seemed more suited for my sister. I’m a fan of her diplomacy in Czechoslovakia. I was a Newsweek reporter living in Prague between the 1989 'Velvet Revolution' and 1991 when I saw up close how Ambassador Shirley Temple Black

worked it. That’s how I became a fan. (Disclosure: I like ambassadors, my wife was U.S. ambassador to Hungary 2010-13.) ... In Shirley Temple Black, the Czechoslovaks had a new diplomat-artist colleague who shared Reagan’s sentiments and temperament. ... The most visible part of diplomacy consists of public meetings or events, speeches given, parties thrown. But most of the work takes place away from the public eye. Public and private diplomacy require the ability to perform for and understand an audience, and she was skilled at both. When it came to the new Czechoslovak leadership, she knew these people and what motivated them, understood their anti-establishment tendencies, and gained their respect not merely because of her recognized early film work, but also because her ability to take the stage and perform whatever diplomatic duties were necessary." Uncaptioned image from entry

After running the rat race, some women are slowing down their pace - "I worked damned hard in media and then in government. Meanwhile, I raised two great kids and felt exhausted but satisfied. I rose to become executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace and then [U.S.]undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Now I have hit the midpoint of life. ... My message to women is that if you are in a position to take a professional pause, do it."

Can Australia-India ties flourish if governments are asleep? - Melissa Conley Tyler - "[T]here is much that is and should be taking place outside government that will improve Australia-India relations. But there is still an important role for government support. For example, as Andrew Robb explained, private sector growth is assisted by changes to Australian policy and regulation which can enhance the attractiveness of Australia as an investment destination for Indian businesses. Existing educational and people-to-people efforts will be enhanced by the Government's signature New Colombo Plan which will enable Australian students to study and complete internships in Asia. Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has announced that this is on track to be implemented in India in 2015. In addition, diplomats create an enabling environment for all of these contacts. For example, the work of the diplomats at the Australian High Commission in Delhi was commended at the Roundtable as a textbook case of how perceptions of a country can be turned around by assiduous public diplomacy. The centrepiece of Australian and Indian scientific and technological collaboration – the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund – relies on government support. Initiated by Prime Minister Howard and topped up by Prime Minister Rudd, the Fund has universal support from scientists in both countries. An Australia India Taskforce Report reported on seven successful years with the Fund supporting 84 projects and 20 workshops involving around 1500 researchers. Collaboration has included areas such as agriculture, biotechnology, solar energy, nanotechnology, biomedical devices and implants, IT security and marine ecosystems. Unfortunately the Fund is running out of money and needs to be topped up to continue at these levels.

The new model of diplomacy views foreign affairs as much more than government-to-government relations. But there is still a role for government in supporting initiatives that help grow important national relationships. Particularly in an area such as scientific research and development, which will drive innovation and growth for mutual benefit, there is an irreplaceable role for government; it cannot be asleep. It would be a tragedy if government vacated the field where initiatives such as the Australia India Strategic Research Fund have had such a positive effect." Image from

China, a major source for Pakistan’s human resource development - "China has become a major source for human resource development for Pakistan to meet its challenges and excel in the fields of Science and Technology in the 21st Century. China at present generously offering a large number of scholarships to young and talented Pakistani students and professionals in a wide variety of subjects, especially in emerging technologies, a diplomat at Pakistan Embassy told APP. The number of these scholarships ranges up to a couple of hundreds annually, which mostly includes Masters, PhDs and Post Doctorates. It is also providing trainings [sic] to Pakistani experts in cutting-edge technologies to face the future challenges of Pakistan. There are also a number of exchange visits between the two countries which strengthen mutual understandings and promote public diplomacy."

The Age of Public Diplomacy: Soft Power Game in East Asia - "The third session of the symposium focused on public diplomacy in

East Asia, particularly the increasing tension that marks Japan’s relations with China and South Korea as well as each country’s public diplomacy efforts. ... The session concluded with Kondō [Kondō Motohiro, former editor-in-chief of Chūō Kōron], as moderator, noting that we seem to have not only entered the age of public diplomacy but also the era of what might be called individual diplomacy, travel diplomacy, and private diplomacy." Uncaptioned image from article

The Israel Taboo - Joseph Rosen, "Debates rage over whether anti-Zionism can be defined as the new anti-Semitism. The Palestinian-driven campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions attempts to link Zionism and Israel to apartheid-era racism in South Africa. Since the 1980s, members of Israel’s hasbara programs have used academic, religious, and government resources to teach Zionists rhetorical tactics and ideological strategies to defend Israel against criticism in social media and elsewhere (if you are reading this online, you may hear from them in the comments below).

While hasbara translates as 'explanation,' this Internet-era 'public diplomacy' more often resembles old-school propaganda. The problem with this linguistic warfare is that it re-entrenches existing positions. Everyone wants to convince, and no one wants to listen." Image from entry

No moral dilemma about soft diplomacy - John Kirkland, University World News: "What would be worrying is if – like the British government of 1914 or the Soviet one of the 1960s – governments were asking universities to, say, teach or research things that they would not otherwise do, in the name of public diplomacy or soft power. ... John Kirkland is deputy secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities."

Doubles - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Gastrodiplomacy case-in-point of why I love my Crown Heights neighborhood: doubles. Doubles are West Indian/Indian puri fry bread covered in channa peas, and slathered with spicy pepper sauce and tamarind. Double doubles for lunch.

I'm becoming a huge fan of food from Trinidad and Tobago. Influences of India, Africa and Caribbean. I could def do some TNT gastrodiplomacy." Image from entry


USAID struggles to capture a different picture of Afghanistan - Al Kamen, Washington Post: on Monday, USAID put out a request for bids on a 90-day “trial” contract, with a possible extension to one year, for someone to take “timely, attractive visual images” of USAID projects, because such images “are a key element of any modern social media.” Here’s the problem, USAID said in the solicitation: “In Afghanistan, negative images flood both social and conventional media with little counter. This makes fresh, regularly updated photographs of USAID work . . . critical for effective social media messaging.” They wanted really “professional-quality” shots for their Afghanistan public outreach program, especially for the “mission website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Flickr photograph feed,” we’re told, since most Afghans apparently spend their days on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. USAID’s efforts have been impressive, “particularly in health and education,” the announcement said, “yet the overwhelming majority of pictures recording that effort are negative or at least to some extent misleading.” Why? Because the pros working for the media produce “high-quality images” of the Afghan aid effort, we’re told, and “news photographs by their very nature focus on the negative.” USAID is simply “unable to compete . . . because of lack of skill and security limitations,” limitations likely to increase without U.S. troop support, possibly keeping photographers pinned down in Kabul. One of the qualifications listed was an ability to do “unlimited travel in country,” where you won’t find many Americans. That’s where some Photoshop skills could help get some Americans into those spectacular photos.

Sure, it may be dangerous at times, but hey, you don’t have to build the Potemkin village, just photograph it. Who knows? Sounds as if your breathtaking photos just might turn around the war. Or maybe not. After we inquired about the cost, an agency spokesman sent an e-mail saying that the solicitation “was to help inform Afghans” about the agency’s projects but that it “did not appropriately articulate that purpose and is being reevaluated.” It appears the solicitation has been taken down. See also RT, "​US scraps ‘glossy propaganda’ plans for Afghanistan aid projects." Image from

Ambassadorships are President Obama's political plums - Editorial, Washington Post: All presidents appoint some ambassadors who are not professional diplomats. Most have been harmless; a few have been stellar. Mr. Obama, however, has considerably stretched the boundaries of previous presidential records, both in quantity and in apparent disregard for quality.

The top 10 reasons to keep political ambassadors [subscription] - Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

The U.S. Gets the Kurds Wrong—Again: In Iraq, we ignored them until we discovered that they were our best allies. Now those in Syria are being neglected - Michael Rubin, Wall Street Journal: With a terror-sponsoring regime and a terror-embracing opposition, American officials are right to be frustrated by Syria. Just as in Iraq, however, the Kurds provide an alternative, federal model. That they are also secular and pro-American is icing on the cake. How ironic it is, then, that the State Department seems so committed to making them pariahs.

More Engagement with India - Editorial, New York Times: The United States and India have a lot of work to do to strengthen their partnership.

Vladimir Putin visits Team USA in Sochi - Nancy Armour, USA Today: Russian President Vladimir Putin dropped in on the U.S. Olympic Committee's headquarters

at the Olympic Park on Friday, removing any lingering tensions over President Barack Obama's choices for the American delegation to the Sochi Games. Image from entry, with caption: Vladimir Putin visits the Team USA house.

The new propaganda - Rick Conroy, Russia’s complicated relationship with propaganda has been in evidence in Sochi. It’s a land of contradictions. They love their Tchaikovsky, but deny his nature; officials waged a months-long campaign ahead of the Olympics to persuade the world he was just a lonely man who failed to marry. The opening ceremonies were under intense scrutiny because of Russia’s criminalization of “homosexual propaganda,” yet organizers put tATu on stage—a female act known for overt displays of simulated affection. The women held hands through their unusually constrained performance; another kind of propaganda, supporting the fiction of a tolerant nation. When the fifth snowflake failed to open into an Olympic ring, in a classic Politburo throwback, state TV switched from a live feed to footage of a more successful rehearsal—as though the people could be duped. The big red tribute to the era of Communism also raised some hackles, glossing over the darker, more repressive aspects of Soviet history—an homage to 20th century progress filtered through deeply rose-coloured glasses. But red is not the colour of these Games. These are the rainbow Olympics. Like the old propaganda, the new propaganda starts with a fiction—we are tolerant, we embrace dissent—and plays it, loud and proud, drowning out all who sing a different tune.

Media hype around propaganda law has ‘negative effect’ on Russian LGBT community - RT
The Western media’s response to Russia’s law banning gay propaganda among minors is “heavy-handed”, members of Sochi’s gay community have told RT.

They worry excessive media attention may lead to Russian society blaming them for “spoiling the Olympics.” Image from entry, with caption: A performer prepares to take part in a drag queen show backstage at Mayak, a gay cabaret club in Sochi, south western Russia October 28, 2013.

Is The Putin Propaganda Bubble About To Burst? - Ola Cichowlas, Putinist propaganda – like its Soviet predecessor – slips even further into the realm of the absurd. Russia is approaching the dangerous scenario that inevitably led to the fall of the Soviet Union, whereby citizens lived a sort of “double life”. Historian Stephen Kotkin theorised that in Stalinist Russia, a person could “speak Bolshevik” (publically expressing loyalty to the regime) one moment, and “innocent peasant” the next.

People began reading texts not for what they stated but for what they implied, or even for what they omitted. Readers became insensitive to the norm. It would seem that Russia is in desperate need of a powerful literary roar. But the tradition of dissident literature has died around the world, and instead many find their answers online. Still, an increasing number of Russians are once again leading a double life, listening to reports not for what they say but for what they do not say. They, too, are gradually becoming bilingual, “speaking Putin” one moment and Russian the next. George Orwell would have warned: “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." Uncaptioned image from entry

Few Believers in "Kim's Loving Harvest" Propaganda - Since late last year, North Korean state propaganda has been framing a bumper autumn harvest as one of Kim Jong Eun’s personal achievements, rather than the fortunate outcome of favorable weather conditions across much of Asia. However, the official view has been greeted with incredulity in many quarters.


Ant battle! Tawny crazy ants take on fire ants -- and win [includes video] - Deborah Netburn, Across the southeastern United States a battle is raging -- ant against ant. On one side are the dreaded fire ants, armed with a venom that is painful to humans and often fatal to competing insects. On the other side are the tawny crazy ants -- smaller, stinger-less, but equipped with a secret weapon that allows them to defeat the fire ants time and time again.

As scientists have recently discovered, the tawny crazy ants can secrete a chemical antidote to the fire ants' poison that is also a venom itself. And though this venom doesn't kill the fire ants, it appears to force them into retreat. "As this plays out, unless something new and different happens, crazy ants are going to displace fire ants from much of the southeastern U.S. and become the new ecologically dominant invasive ant species," Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the Fire Ant Research and Management Project at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement. Image from, with caption: ANTS! It's not my fault that the ants were on my bone. I always leave my bone in the middle of the floor. crazy ants

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