Monday, May 19, 2014

May 17-19 Public Diplomacy Review

"And the single best piece of advice I ever received about diplomacy didn’t come from my international relations class, but it came from my father, who served in the Foreign Service. He told me that diplomacy was really about being able to see the world through the eyes of someone else, to understand their aspirations and assumptions."

--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Remarks at Yale College Class Day; image from

"The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy--the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately."

--Senator J. William Fulbright; on Fulbright, see


Obama wants to cut Fulbright program: Alumni mobilize worldwide to avert trimming exchanges created by Arkansan - Sarah D. Wire, "President Barack Obama has proposed cutting 13 percent of funding from an international education exchange program named for a former U.S. senator from Arkansas, and alumni around the world are raising objections. If approved by Congress, much of the $30.5 million taken from the J. William Fulbright Educational Exchange Program would instead go toward shorter-term exchange programs, according to the U.S. State Department. Fulbright sponsored legislation creating the Fulbright program at the end of World War II, and it was funded initially by the sale of surplus war property. ... The president’s proposed 2015 budget shifts money to create short-term programs for people in countries that are experiencing conflicts or crises, dramatic leadership transitions, or significant societal changes. State Department spokesman Susan Pittman said that may include more exchanges that last for a few weeks or months, rather than up to a year. ... The Fulbright program would receive $204 million in the proposed budget and would continue to be the largest exchange program offered in the U.S. ... On April 9, the U.S. House voted down the president’s budget, but Fulbright alumni said the vote is just the opening salvo in budget negotiations and they expect the State Department to keep pushing for the change. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awards approximately 8,000 Fulbright grants each year, according to the department website. About 1,600 U.S. students and about 1,200 U.S. college and university faculty members receive grants to visit other countries, and about 4,900 foreign students and scholars receive grants to visit the United States to teach or learn. ... Austrian Yussi Pick helped create, which has collected more than 25,000 signatures from people urging Congress to reverse the program cuts. ... The Fulbright Association, a nonprofit network of alumni, also is raising the alarm and asking members to contact their congressmen. ... U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said he doesn’t expect Congress to cut spending in the Fulbright program. Boozman said Obama may have moved the funding around knowing that the Fulbright program is too popular to cut. He said the president may hope Congress keeps Fulbright program spending at its current level without undoing his proposed increases to other exchange programs." Below image from

Fulbright, International Exchanges and the Annual Budget Wars - Patricia H. Kushlis, "Since far more Americans would prefer a Fulbright experience in Europe and European governments are the most financially and administratively supportive, it’s no surprise then that the European program has had by far the largest staff as well as budget for years. I suspect that’s still the case. The problem is, however, that as much as I support the Fulbright program ... there are other factors that need to be considered and questions that need to be asked and answered in the context of the international exchanges budget in the bureau as a whole. ... I'd ... like to see a proposal that mandates a better balance between US government support between one-way only 'exchanges' to exchange programs that benefit Americans too."

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Human Rights Issues - Fact Sheet, Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC, May 16, 2014, "The U.S. Department of State has significantly expanded efforts to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons over the past year. Through our private engagement with governments and civil society, public diplomacy, foreign assistance, and work in multilateral fora we have conducted activities in .... areas of focus under the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. We have also institutionalized these efforts throughout the Department."

Aloha Venezuela I - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The next day we ... headed over to the unoccupied U.S. Ambassador's residence in the hills of Caracas. Venezuela and the U.S. have not sent ambassadors since 2010, so the home is used for occasional programs like ours. We were having a jam session with Eduardo Betancourt y su grupo, a Venezuelan joropo group. Eduardo was an incredible harpist. We were also joined by the C4 Trio, which was actually a quartet of cuatro players. The cuatro is a cousin of the ukulele, as both were descended from the Portuguese braganza.

We were also joined by two Venezuelan alumni of the sibling cultural diplomacy program OneBeat. Anyway, the jam session was absolute MAGIC. The bands quickly bonded over adept plucking and music styles. The room was abuzz with incredible music and real people-to-people connections over thecollaboration. I had to shake my head at the irony the the empty diplomatic residence was being put to such good use for public diplomacy. We were joined by the Charge d'Affaires for the event, the highest ranking diplomat at the Embassy in absence of the ambassador. Meanwhile the CAO Neal, who is originally from Hawaii and has been the main driver behind this program, had organized the Venezuelan equivalent of a pig roast." Uncaptioned image from entry

2013 Forum: Age of Engagement - The Future of Public Diplomacy in a Networked World - Jesselle Macatiag, "The session was moderated by Robert Bole, Director of Global Strategy, Broadcasting Board of Governors. Mr. Bole introduced the session with the idea that the age of engagement is a 21st century paradigm shift where citizens and non-state actors have the capability to collaborate, organize, and influence the world better than professional public diplomats. Public diplomacy, in turn, must adapt to an increasingly interconnected network of individuals, organizations, and governments communicating and interacting with each other in real-time through a variety information communication technologies including radio, digital, and mobile. Despite rapid changes in information communication technologies, public diplomacy must occur across multiple levels of social, economic, and technological development. As such, public diplomacy must find ways to connect to populations that are both digitally and not digitally connected."

2013 Forum: Religion and Public Diplomacy - Essential to Get it Right - Jesselle Macatiag, Public Diplomacy Council: "The session explores the

criticism that our diplomacy and diplomats in the field in all Foreign Service career tracks including public diplomacy have perennially neglected the potential and importance of engaging religious leaders and faith-based community organizations to achieve secular U.S. foreign policy goals." Uncaptioned image from entry

NYT with 11.8M Twitter followers worries, VOA News with 103K behind UN Peacekeeping with 119K - BBG Watcher, bbgwatch: "If The New York Times with 11.8M Twitter followers is worried about its digital future, what have Voice of America (VOA) and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives been doing in the last few years? Voice of America English News with only 103K Twitter Followers worldwide (with many in the US, which VOA is not supposed to target)

is even behind such organizations, which are not even news organizations, as UN Peacekeeping. UN Peacekeeping has 119K Twitter followers, a few thousand more than VOA English News. Apparently UN Peacekeeping knows better than VOA what it does and what it puts online. The main UN Twitter account has 2.6 million Followers." Image from entry

Emiratis on US mission to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy - Taimur Khan, "As part of its public diplomacy efforts in the US, the UAE Embassy last summer donated $4.5 million (Dh16.5 million) to the state’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund to help repair technological infrastructure at dozens of schools. So when the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development’s Takatof programme wanted to send a team of its volunteers to work in a Sandy-affected area, the fund put it in touch with Habitat for Humanity. The 12 young Emirati men and women who spent last week helping to renovate and build houses in New Jersey ... aim to contribute to the rebuilding effort and also to act as cultural ambassadors for their country."

NATO Plants Flag In Uzbekistan - "NATO formally opened its liaison office in Uzbekistan on Friday, a year after it started working and amid heightened Russian rhetoric about the western alliance encroaching on its backyard. The opening itself was not a big deal: it only formalized a move that happened last year, which was itself described by NATO officials as just a 'rotation' of NATO's representation in Central Asia from Astana to Tashkent.

(NATO calls the new structure in Tashkent a 'liaison office,' while the preferred phrase in the Russian-language press seems to be the much more impressive-sounding 'staff  headquarters.') Nevertheless, the opening ceremony was held in a very different geopolitical atmosphere than obtained last year, and so it was inevitable that people would seek to try to figure out what it really meant. Uzbekistan is unmistakably taking a different path than that of its neighbors. While Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are all (to varying degrees) participating in Russia's economic and military integration schemes, Uzbekistan has resisted." Image from entry, with caption: Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov meets NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on a visit to Brussels in 2011

New Player in Campaign to Keep NIF Out of Parade: NIF nemesis, Israeli student organization Im Tirtzu, points to fresh evidence that the radical fund supports BDS - Gil Ronen, "Im Tirtzu, which has focused on Israeli campuses until now, has launched a large scale public diplomacy campaign that focuses on the United States.

The campaign focuses on social networks, and on English and Hebrew news publications that cater to Jewish and Israeli-expatriate communities in North America." Image from entry, with caption: Im Tirzu protest

Israel needs special "policy statement"? An interview with Davidi Hermelin [Google "translation"] - Christoph Dinkelaker, "Like no other country invests in Israel government public relations to promote a positive self image abroad. Hasbara, literally 'explanation' is the Hebrew term for this information policy. About the meaning and content of the concept speaks Davidi Hermelin, Director of the Center for Public Diplomacy and hasbara. Since the 1970s, the Hebrew term has Hasbara found its way into international political magazines. In the political context that is a way of government public relations meant that aims to explain the one hand, the Israeli government policy of a foreign public and also to a positive image of Israel abroad promote. ... [Q:] the Center for Public Diplomacy and hasbara.

What makes such a center specifically? [A:] First, we offer training for Israelis in the fields of public diplomacy and hasbara. Besides, our flagship 'mission to Israel,' a program for international visitors. We accompany delegations by Israel and in the territories of the Palestinian Authority. Our tours give participants the opportunity to completely both Israel and Judea and Samaria - also known as the West Bank - to discover and meet Israelis and Palestinians for discussions. Many Israeli political leadership figures, representatives of the army and the Palestinian universities, and representatives of civil society are consulted as experts. I encourage our guests to meet Palestinian activists, even though I have big disagreements with them. My goal is that guests hear different perspectives and opinions, so they do not go with the feel of home, to have been manipulated on one side." Image from entry, with caption: Advertising that gets under your skin. This man even advertises in his neck for Israel.

Newslinks for Saturday 17th May 2014 - The Prime Minister’s cautious diplomacy in Scotland [scroll down entry for item] - "'Scottish flag' Scotland is still very much part of the UK, but this week’s overnight trip north of the border by David Cameron was a study in cautious public diplomacy. ... Determined not to put a foot wrong amid an increasingly fierce debate over Scottish independence, the UK prime minister focused on charming local media.

He limited his public contacts with the electorate on Friday to a session with a dozen newly enfranchised high school pupils – 16-year-olds have been given the vote for the referendum.' – Financial Times." Uncaptioned image from entry

Romanian: Envoy sees Ceausescu regime in N.K. - Philip Iglauer, "Whereas the cult of personality in North Korea appears off-the-wall to most Western observers, for the Romanian ambassador in South Korea, it is eerily familiar. 'For the outsider never experiencing this it is ridiculous,' explained Romanian Ambassador to South Korea Calin Fabian in an interview with The Korea Herald at his office in Itaewon-dong in Seoul on Monday. ... Fabian said public diplomacy is an important component of his job here. Seoul saw its first Romanian restaurant open recently.

Though its name borders on kitsch ― dubbed 'Dracula,' after Bram Stoker’s famous fictional resident of Transylvania ― Fabian promises the menu includes authentic and delicious Romanian dishes. Raising awareness of Romania among the South Korean public is a major goal for the career diplomat. That is difficult when Romania is both geographically far away and distant in the minds of most Koreans. Few Romanian expatriates reside here, just 200, 35 of whom are students. Image from entry, with caption: Romanian Ambassador to South Korea Calin Fabian speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at his office in Itaewon, Seoul, Monday.

The Internet and China-US Relations - Yang Hengjun, "[R]egardless of how governments interact, it will not prevent civil organizations and writers from using whatever platforms they can to promote people-to-people exchanges and increase mutual understanding between the two peoples. This is the most important kind of 'public diplomacy,' and in the long term, it may be the most meaningful.

In the era of globalization, open societies and open information, it is public knowledge and opinion that ultimately decides the direction of the bilateral relationship. ... Although China has no independent non-profit organizations engaged in 'public diplomacy,' we have 'non-paid' writers to provide some positive energy for foreign relations. ... Over the years, hundreds of internet writers have all helped ordinary Chinese people understand the outside world. With the new platform of the internet, it will be harder for those people trying to manipulate public opinion to arouse hatred or to divert attention to achieve other purposes. 'Public diplomacy' is not only doing things that the government cannot do. It also means taking steps to prevent the government from doing unsavory things.'Image from

Changing Modes of Political Dialogue Across the Middle East and East Asia, 1880-2010 - Cemil Aydin, "During the long period of decolonization in Asia, mutual interest and sympathies between Middle East and East Asia peaked, yet with a clear difference between pro-Chinese and pro-Japanese discourses. Japanese elites, when they decided to mobilize Asian sympathies for their empire, emphasized race alliance against white Western hegemony and downplayed Japan’s war with Chinese nationalism. Chinese nationalists and Japanese imperialists competed for the political support of Muslims and Arabs by sponsoring pilgrimages to Mecca. Chinese nationalists asked Chinese Muslims to go to Mecca and tell other Muslims that China was in the right against imperialist Japan. The Japanese government, on the other hand, dispatched pan-Asianist Japanese who had become Muslims for propaganda purposes to visit Mecca. The fact that China and Japan focused their public diplomacy on Saudi state ruled Mecca illustrates the rising political importance of that city in the twentieth century, as well as the confusion about the leadership of the imagined 'Muslim world' after the abolishment of the Ottoman caliphate in Istanbul in 1924."

#FutureProof: @PMOIndia is dead. Long live @PMOIndia handle! - "A tasteful 'bye bye' shot of Manmohan Singh and his wife with their personal staff is up on This may well be among the last 2-3 tweets that the outgoing Prime Minister’s social media handlers will send out to the 1.22 million of us, who persist on following despite the drab and often asinine content. ... [M]inisters and civil servants must be explained that the new PM’s social media strategy isn’t a cosmetic personal obsession. Instead, it is one of the crucial pieces in enlarging his appeal and the air of decisiveness and positivity that Manmohan failed so spectacularly in conveying.

Before that, quick orientation sessions and seminars are a must – just so that overenthusiasm and illiteracy don’t lead to unfortunate results. Also, rather than halting steps that the ministry of external affairs and ministry of information and broadcasting have taken so far, #Namo could have a proper Office of Public Diplomacy which improves upon learnings that his team in Gujarat and, say, the US have already made." Image from

MPD '14 Students Release "Innovations in Brazilian Public Diplomacy" Report - “Earlier this spring, a delegation of USC Master of Public Diplomacy students conducted a research trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to analyze the emerging power's key public diplomacy strategies. In their composite report, ‘Innovations in Brazilian Public Diplomacy,’ delegation members outline their findings and offer recommendations for improving the nation's PD and branding efforts. Released just in time for the Brazil-hosted 2014 FIFA World Cup, the report emphasizes sport, digital, and city diplomacy, as well as international broadcasting [.] Click here for the ‘Innovations in Brazilian Public Diplomacy’ report.”


Remarks at Yale College Class Day -- John Kerry, Secretary of State. New Haven, CT May 18, 2014 - "I can tell you for certain, most of the rest of the world doesn’t lie awake

at night worrying about America’s presence – they worry about what would happen in our absence." Image from

A critique of Obama’s foreign policy catches on - Fred Hiatt, Washington Post: Lack of purpose and clarity in foreign policy can invite confrontation, too. As that becomes more and evident, from eastern Syria to eastern Ukraine to the South China Sea, Obama may yet realize that the minimal response is one the United States can no longer afford.

Putin and the Mythical Empire - Peter Lavelle, Western media, following the "bullhorns of propaganda" resident at the White House and State Department, assumes Putin is bent on re-building the Russian Empire and/or Soviet Union. This is assumed to be true because the “bullhorns of propaganda” say it’s true. There is never any evidence cited or even a coherent analysis provided to back up this claim. Putin’s ‘near abroad’ foreign policy is about people and principles. The day the Soviet Union came to an end, millions of ethnic Russians suddenly found themselves in a country that was not their own. Putin is addressing this painful historical wrong. And it is a very important domestic issue among Russians at home.

Narratives Of The Ukrainian Crisis: The Power Of  Discourse and Media Wars -- Analysis - Licinia Simao, The current crisis in Ukraine represents simultaneously a continuation of U.S. and EU irresponsible and highly destabilizing policies of regime change and the violation of basic principles of international law by Russia. Both approaches represent a potentially fatal blow to the European security order constructed since the 1970s

and a dangerous new contention for influence in the European continent. Understanding the crisis therefore demands clarifying facts, and critical analysis, in order to gain a better grasp of the actors’ underlying motivations and the role of propaganda in the construction of more permissive contexts. It is not clear who stands to benefit in the current context, considering the heavy sanctions that are being imposed on Russia, the remilitarization of Europe and the breakdown of years of mutual accommodation between the European nations and Russia. Image from entry, with caption: Flag at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, main Kiev, Ukraine square

The Russian Propaganda Machine -- Is It Winning? - Steven Pifer, "Russian media has conducted an information war designed to depict events in Ukraine in the starkest terms, including regular portrayal of the acting Ukrainian government as a neo-fascist junta. The information war appears to have had success within Russia, where 94 percent of the population receives their Ukraine news from television.

The Kremlin directly or indirectly controls the major TV channels, and they present a consistently negative view of Ukraine. Opinion polls suggest that a large segment of the Russian population (70+ percent) accepts the Russian government’s line that the authorities in Kyiv are illegitimate. Image from entry, with caption: Former US Ambassador Steven Pifer

The 'all-out propaganda war' in Ukraine: We analyse coverage of the Ukraine conflict, which has often been marred by a lack of nuance, context and subtlety - On Russian television screens, Putin's policy in Ukraine has been depicted as a valiant stand on behalf of Russian speakers against the same kind of fascism that Russia fought against in the Second World War.

That kind of coverage has been dismissed as "propaganda" in the West - but you do not have to go all the way to Moscow to find biased journalism. Western news outlets have also been criticised for reflecting, even parroting, what their domestic political leaders have been saying about this crisis. Uncaptioned image from entry

Look out, Latvia! Putin could be heading your way - Mike Sigov, Having admitted that “today Russia seeks to change the security landscape of Eastern and Central Europe,” he said in reference to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the threat it posed to eastern Ukraine that “the United States and our allies will stand together in support of Ukraine. ... And most important, together we have to make it absolutely clear to the Kremlin that NATO territory is inviolable. We will defend every single piece of it.”
However, Russia’s continuing military presence on the Ukrainian borders and Russia’s continuing propaganda that calls the Ukrainian government “fascist,” attests to the opposite. It appears that Mr. Putin is unimpressed by both the words — and the deeds by his Western opponents, including the limited economic sanctions against a number of Russian individuals and companies.

Narratives Of The Ukrainian Crisis: The Power Of  Discourse and Media Wars -- Analysis - Licinia Simao, The current crisis in Ukraine represents simultaneously a continuation of U.S. and EU irresponsible and highly destabilizing policies of regime change and the violation of basic principles of international law by Russia. Both approaches represent a potentially fatal blow to the European security order constructed since the 1970s

and a dangerous new contention for influence in the European continent. Understanding the crisis therefore demands clarifying facts, and critical analysis, in order to gain a better grasp of the actors’ underlying motivations and the role of propaganda in the construction of more permissive contexts. It is not clear who stands to benefit in the current context, considering the heavy sanctions that are being imposed on Russia, the remilitarization of Europe and the breakdown of years of mutual accommodation between the European nations and Russia. Image from entry, with caption: Flag at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, main Kiev, Ukraine square

Germany: A Leader or a Follower? - Dmitri Trenin, Germany is slowly and carefully growing out of the constraints it had been living with since 1945. It is Europe's sole emerging power, and potentially a power in Eurasia. It knows it needs a continuing alliance with the United States, deepening integration with its EU partners, and a strategic approach toward Russia, China, India, and the rest of Asia. To rise up to the challenge, Berlin will need to develop two qualities rare in today's world: strategic independence and leadership—both on behalf of Germany itself and of Europe. Ukraine is a good place to start working toward that new role. For starters, Germany needs to stop thinking of Ukraine as a U.S.-Russian issue, and assume responsibility there on behalf of the EU as a whole, canvassing its partners' support for such an engagement. Merkel should let Barack Obama continue with his pivot to Asia, and free up John Kerry's time to deal with the Middle East, while engaging herself to help Ukrainians rebuild their country on an equitable and sustainable foundation.

Шеф-повар посольства России в США получил приз за мороженое из семги [Google "translation" Chef of the Russian Embassy in the United States received the prize for ice cream Salmon] - "Chef of the Russian Embassy in the U.S. Roman Schadrin introduced capital's beau monde, pays $250 for a ticket to a tasting dish unknown in America - ice cream of salmon.

Appetizer was a cheese cake with ice cream Salmon watered bechamel sauce with caviar. Image from entry

It's time for the U.S. to reset relations with India - Michael Kugelman, Despite much giddy rhetoric about a deeper partnership in recent years, U.S.-India relations have suffered for decades — far beyond last December, when the arrest and strip-search of Devyani Khobragade, a New York-based Indian diplomat, plunged relations into deep crisis. Washington needs to appoint a new ambassador to India (Nancy Powell resigned this year). It should be a prominent name with unassailable pro-India credentials — in the mold of Nicholas Burns, a top diplomat who negotiated the nuclear accord. The timing is right for reconciliation. Obama's recent trip to Asia underscored the White House's continued commitment to rebalancing to that region, and by extension to countering China's increasing regional influence, thereby accentuating a core U.S.-India interest. Additionally, the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan creates strategic space to better engage an India that, in recent years, has been victimized by an "AfPak"-dominated U.S strategic lens. The U.S. and India aren't destined to be strategic partners. Yet they can and should enjoy healthy relations, no matter who is in power.

Israel isn't, and will never be, an apartheid state - Michael Oren, However unwittingly, those who associate apartheid with Israel are aiding the perhaps ultimate stage in the effort to destroy the nation. They are also committing a grave injustice to the millions of American and South African blacks who were the victims of true apartheid.

‘NYT’ publishes unvarnished ADL propaganda: 93% of Palestinians are anti-Semites - Philip Weiss - A lot of folks are talking about the big new anti-Semitism survey by the Anti-Defamation League that says that more than one in four

people worldwide harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. The New York Times ran a straight story about the survey without questioning its methods, as several others now have. The Times includes tendentious claims. Image from entry, with caption: Abe Foxman and the vice president at ADL’s gala earlier this year.

US Embassy Attacks: Year in Review -- 2013 – Domani Spero, DiploPundit


"Who cares if you listen?"

--Composer Milton Babbitt, cited in The Times Literary Supplement (May 2, 2014), p. 9

"Vienna was the capital of a gradually liberalizing empire; home to a polyglot, multi-assortment of peoples, a freshly ploughed field for all the elements of modernity's discontent:

a cultural mix that would flower in extravagant and unexpected ways. ... Casablanca, that greatest of Hollywood films, plotted around refugees' plight, was made with the help of Austro-German refugees, among them Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre, with a score by Max Steiner, late of Vienna."

--Stephen Brown, The Times Literary Supplement (May 2, 2014), p. 7; image from, with caption: Map of Wien, 1800, J. Stockdale


From, with caption: this marble sculpture by maurizio cattelan is titled L.O.V.E. and located at the center of piazza degli affari,in front of milan stock exchange. Via OS on Facebook


Russia's president hits the ice in a video showcasing his amateur hockey skills - "Putin scored six goals and got five assists during an exhibition

amateur hockey game in Sochi ... helping his team claim victory with a ludicrous final score of 21-4." Image from


Image from; see also, with the quotation, "He doesn't pass the puck, regarding
John Kerry's hockey-playing at St. Paul's School [SPS], according to the perhaps unsubstantiated view of an SPS alumnus

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