"Education is not a matter of coercion or even persuasion, but always and only a matter of invitation."
--Andrew Delbanco, director of American studies, Columbia University; image from
--The positive use of food in diplomacy; term used by a Hida Fouladvand, recent MA graduate at Georgetown University
The Drone Strike Narrative in Pakistan: The discourse surrounding drone strikes in the FATA region has always been complex - Farooq Yousaf, thediplomat.com: "With a sharp decline in the number of drone strikes from 2010 onwards, and no strikes at all so far in 2014, it seems as if the Obama administration, ahead of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2016, has finally decided to wrap up the CIA drone campaign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. ... The media in Pakistan now has the power to shape the public discourse on major issues, notably the CIA drone strikes in FATA. And the position of the Pakistani media on drone strikes has been very heavily critical. This discourse is predominantly based on the fact that drones were a U.S. tool, violating Pakistan’s sovereignty, and apparently killing 'thousands' of innocent civilians. ... Christine Fair, Karl Kaltenthaler and William J Miller, writing for The Atlantic on Pakistan’s drone discourse, argued: 'In fact, many Pakistanis support the drone strikes. This suggests that there is room for the United States to engage in a public diplomacy campaign to win over more Pakistanis to the idea that drone strikes are not the bringers of carnage that is so often portrayed in the Urdu-language media in Pakistan.'”
Now This — A WH Petition to Remove Amb to Thailand Kristie Kenney For Twitter Selfies - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: On May 24, 2014, somebody named T. D. from Garden Grove, CA created a White House petition asking the Obama Administration to remove Ambassador Kristie Kenney from her post in Thailand. Below is the purported justification for the petition:
... It looks like the petitioners were especially incensed by Ambassador Kenney’s 'never-ending Twitter selfies.' Unfortunately for them, the ambassadors have marching orders for public engagement in social media. Some are more active and have better reach than others. @KristineKenney, one of the early adopters of Twitter among chiefs of mission currently has over 50K followers.
When Bush 43′s Karen Hughes [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] talked about 'a rapid response unit,' Twitter was at its infancy. Today, you have a chief of mission responding to rumors as quickly as you can say boo!" Kenney selfie from entry
Department of State Public Schedule - posted at rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S. Luis Carlos Villegas, at the Department of State. 3:30 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel attends a meeting at the White House."
China ships depart for naval drill with U.S., others - Christopher Bodeen,navytimes.com: Chinese ships steamed Tuesday toward waters near Hawaii to participate for the first time in the world’s largest naval exercises hosted by Washington — a rare opportunity to build trust with the U.S. and regional rivals including the Philippines and Japan. ... Deputy Chief of Staff Hong Xumeng ... [said] China’s participation
in the drills constituted 'an important mission of military diplomacy' and a further step in strengthening China-U.S. relations. 'It’s also a new development in exploring ways of strengthening friendly relations with countries of the South Pacific through public diplomacy,' Hong was quoted as saying." Image from entry, with caption: Chinese naval soldiers stand on China's missile destroyer Haikou at a naval port in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province on Monday. The Chinese naval squadron has left port to take part for the first time in the world's largest naval exercises hosted by the U.S. in waters near Hawaii, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
Myths breed around China's energy quest - Jean-Marc F Blanchard and Maya Horin, atimes.com: "China needs to stress more how it is helping host countries establish integrated supply chains, transform resource endowments into growth, and bolstering energy infrastructure and supplies. In addition, Chinese firms need to become better corporate social responsibility practitioners to win greater public acceptance. China should intensify public diplomacy, too."
Turkey hosts Balkan youth to boost interaction - "Thirty-seven young people from across the Balkans gathered in Turkey last month to participate in a youth conference in order to boost interaction between Turkey and the Balkan countries. The new project, organised by the Prime Ministry's Office of Public Diplomacy, invited young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Kosovo and Macedonia. Cemalettin Hasimi, co-ordinator of the Office of Public Diplomacy, said the project aims to create awareness of Turkey's regional and global influence, as well as to provide a platform for discussion about the current international agenda. 'Considering our historical and cultural ties, the Balkan geography has a special significance for Turkey at all levels, and it is a priority place for our activities,' Hasimi told SES Türkiye.
The young people that participated in the program were selected from a pool of promising young leaders. One criterion was to select future leaders with a special interest in Turkish affairs. 'Although there have been some negative memories coming from the past that influence bilateral relations, this project aims to tell Turkey's new narrative for stimulating positive perceptions between the Balkans and Turkey through wide-ranging public diplomacy efforts,' Hasimi said. The project is carried out under a wider programme named Youth Bridge that brings young people from countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Yemen, Gabon, Niger and Senegal to Turkey. ... Cihad Aliu, 24, is an Albanian/Turkish student living in Macedonia. ... Aliu said especially over the last decade Turkey's active diplomacy and political and cultural initiatives have greatly impacted the Balkan countries. 'Popular Turkish soap operas have an undeniable effect. As for tourism, there are no words to describe Turkey's popularity. Turkey is one of the best places that everybody wants to visit. We have been living in the same region for 600 and some years. It is normal that our co-operation will be in harmony. No one can deny this,' he added. ... Burak Yalim, project manager at the Centre for Development Relations with BiH in Sarajevo and a doctoral candidate at the International University of Sarajevo, told SES Türkiye that young people can make bridges between the two sides by interacting but such relations should be sustained in the long term. 'Turkey's scholarship programmes should be promoted better and be increased for Balkan countries. Turkey should focus on more strategic and wider perspectives rather than on emotional ones in the Balkans,' Yalim said." Image from entry, with caption: Prime Minister Erdogan posed for a selfie with young people from the Balkans during their visit to Ankara in May. [Prime Ministry Office of Public Diplomacy]
Censorship in arts: Banned Uzbek singer can’t travel outside of the country - Mithqal, neweurasia.net: "Current Uzbek-Tajik relations are not even close to normal (here’s one of the reasons why?).
In today’s world, culture is considered a stronger tool in building and enhancing relations between nations. Popularity of an Uzbek singer in other countries of the region and in Tajikistan in particular, and vice versa, is a proof that public diplomacy works, especially when it’s not in the hands of people with diplomatic passports.Unfortunately, Uzbek officials prefer prohibition method rather than public diplomacy." Uncaptioned image from entry
WAFA Hands over Presidency of AMAN to Spanish News Agency - english.wafa.ps: "The Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) handed over on Tuesday the presidency of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN) to the Spanish News Agency during its 23rd Assembly General conference in the city of Alicante, in southeastern Spain. ... To be noted, the conference schedule includes seminars on communications, public diplomacy, migration and innovation in the presence of officials representing the member news agencies."
Back to La Mancha - Paul Rockower, Levantine: From Caracas to Calcutta: so ends my quixotic PD long march.
Polo Diplomacy: U.S. Players Travel to Iran to Horse Around - NBC News: When you see an U.S. flag in Iran its usually on fire, but not at the 83rd Federation of International Polo Ambassadors’ Cup last weekend.
Not only were the Stars and Stripes in full view, but Americans joined players from around the world in the sport’s birthplace. Ali Arouzi reports from Tehran. Image from entry Via HF on Facebook
Reagan's Lessons for Obama on Putin: The U.S. approach to Moscow once was 'We win, they lose.' Now America seems content playing for a tie [subscription] - Ken Adelman, Wall Street Journal
Bowe Bergdahl is Fox News' perfect villain for the propaganda machine: As Bill O'Reilly used to tell me, the only thing that drives more viewers than a hero ... is a villain. Especially if you arrange to have 'experts' call him that on purpose - Joe Muto, theguardian.com: One of the driving forces behind Fox's all-out, week-and-a-half-long campaign to paint Bergdahl as a traitor is reportedly the PR firm run by Richard Grenell, a GOP operative who worked for the George W Bush White House and Mitt Romney campaign – and a Fox News contributor.
Grenell has been busily connecting soldiers from Bergdahl’s unit ("pro bono", as if that mattered) with media organizations, most of which have included disclaimer that the interviews were facilitated by “strategists”. But in Week Two of Bergdahl-gazi, Fox has apparently decided that disseminating the propaganda is more important than informing viewers about the identity of those pushing it. Image from entry, with caption: On Saturday night, Sean Hannity hosted a special with a 'studio audience' of yes men and women – including GOP operative Richard Grenell (front row, fourth from left).
The White House’s Bergdahl mess - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The swap of five senior Taliban figures (two of them wanted for war crimes) for a private who wandered from his post was initially controversial, even within the Obama administration. It had been questioned by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Director Leon Panetta. The skeptical view not so much lost as left. The Afghan war, it appears, is already over in the president’s mind, leaving more than 30,000 U.S troops still in Afghanistan without much inspiration or strategic purpose. As well as leaving Afghan allies to wonder about the strength of the United States’ commitment to a non-Taliban future. Rather than an exit strategy, we have what Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations calls an “exit without a strategy.”
Is the US ready to trigger war in Asia? - Andre Vltchek, RT: The anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda howl is reaching a deafening crescendo, especially in Asia. Western media outlets are in high gear, spreading propaganda through their own outlets and their local media affiliates in the client states, mostly owned by big business. China and Russia are now vilified, openly insulted, and blamed for the escalation of tension in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the military build up. The entire mighty Western propaganda machine is now at work, demonizing China, Russia and other independent countries. Politicians are parading, one after another, in front of television cameras, pledging allegiance to capitalism, the Western-style regime or simply put, to the Empire.
All these derogatory and inflammatory speeches against their ‘enemies’ are embarrassing, but they are becoming the norm. Grotesquely, the President of the most aggressive country on Earth, the United States, Barack Obama, was promising to ‘curb the aggression’ of Russia and China, two countries that have not invaded anywhere in the last few decades. Image from entry, with caption: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.
Pakistan’s Latest Crisis - Editorial, New York Times: Torn between fighting and negotiating, the army and government have undertaken episodic military strikes interspersed with peace talks, which invariably fall apart. The collapse of the most recent peace process undertaken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in February was followed by a campaign of airstrikes against Taliban strongholds in North Waziristan
U.S. policy toward Cuba is frozen in the past - Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post: "The sad irony of U.S.-Cuban relations is that Cuba, under the leadership of 83-year-old Raúl Castro, is changing rapidly, and the United States, despite President Obama’s promises of a “new beginning,” remains largely frozen in a self-destructive Cold War policy. ... My recent trip to Cuba, as part of the nation’s first educational exchange trip to that country, reaffirmed what Josefina Vidal, head of the North American Division of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, told our delegation in a wide ranging 90-minute conversation: 'The U.S. is facing the risk of becoming irrelevant in the future of Cuba.' ... Obama … could act now to negotiate with the Cubans the long-overdue trade of the Cuban Five (now three) jailed for espionage in the United States for USAID contractor Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba nearly five years ago for distributing communications equipment to Jewish groups. Obama could open up exchanges and travel for all Americans, while loosening financial restrictions."
The Propaganda Wars and Putin’s Diplomatic Counter-offensive - Michael Werbowski, Global Research: Whether the Russians are adored or despised by the Austrians themselves remains uncertain. Undoubtedly, both states have had historically, a tumultuous and intensive relationship with each other. In any case, the current Ukraine conflict (and the harsh sanctions regime) apparently hasn’t hurt closer bi-lateral economic, or business friendly ties at all, between the two states. Austria does lots of business in Russia. It sells machinery over there and also has according to the Austrian National bank has lent over the years, an overall sum of 36,3 billion Euros to the Russian federation in credit outlays. In return, Russia, delivers vital oil and gas supplies to the land locked alpine country. So expect to see some big energy contracts signed
Azerbaijan to stop Armenia’s dangerous tourism propaganda in occupied territories - Sara Rajabova, azernews.az: Armenia, keeping Azerbaijan's territories under occupation for over 20 years, is planning to attract tourists to the occupied territories. Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that had caused a lengthy war in the early 1990s.
The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.
Unable to ensure the security of the visitors to the occupied territories, the Armenian government is trying to attract tourists to these areas by various ways including internet advertisement, holding tourism exhibitions and etc. Azerbaijani government and missions abroad have always tried to prevent such actions. Uncaptioned image from entry
As World Cup Nears, American ‘Football’ Fans Adapt Foreign Traditions - Sarah Lyall, New York Times: With professional soccer in America reaching new heights of popularity on the eve of this year’s World Cup, scheduled to start Thursday in Brazil, America’s soccer fans have reached a delicate point in their road from the fringes to the mainstream. It is a matter of style, but also a matter of something deeper that speaks to how they, and the country, define themselves. Now that they have a fighting chance of turning this great world pursuit into an American pastime, should they behave the way European fans do and risk coming across as pretentious and patronizing, similar to people who lecture their drinking buddies about what grapes were grown in what soil in what year? Or is there some potentially happy way of incorporating European traditions into a new American fan style?
A primer for Americans on how to watch the World Cup - Kelly Candaele, Los Angeles Times: This week sports fans around the globe will turn their attention to the most watched athletic event in the world — the soccer World Cup. In remote villages and urban centers, close to 1 billion fans will stop what they are doing and find the nearest accessible television set. Except in the United States. While the enthusiasm for soccer here has grown, its fan base pales in comparison to the Super Bowl, for instance.
The World Cup is a communal event, which, unlike baseball's World Series in the United States, actually involves teams and fans from around the world. Image from entry. with caption: Youngsters play football in front of a mural of soccer players Lionel Messi and Neymar da Silva Santos Junior in Rio de Janeiro.
Hillary by the Book: Mrs. Clinton's diplomatic memoir invites us to forget her record - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: What is Mrs. Clinton's version of Acheson's containment, or Mr. Kissinger's triangular diplomacy, or Mr. Shultz's muscular idealism? Perhaps it's what she used to call "smart power," a phrase that is more of an intellectual conceit than a foreign-policy concept. Calling your diplomacy smart doesn't make it smart.
In ‘Hard Choices,’ Hillary Clinton is seen as hesitant to take big risks - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The book bolsters her reputation as a strong “representational” diplomat who carried the flag to 112 countries. But the meaty middle of “Hard Choices” does something more than chronicle the frequent-flier miles: It provides evidence that Clinton displayed good judgment as secretary of state and understood some important issues earlier than her boss, President Obama.
This reader was not encouraged by Clinton’s invocation of “what I call ‘smart power,’ ” the overused and vapid phrase meant to connote the kind of power between hard and soft. The best thing you can say about a secretary of state is that she gives the president good advice and keeps her mouth shut if she loses the argument, and Clinton appears (by her obviously selective account) to have passed these tests. Image from entry, with caption: Cover of "Hard Choices," the memoir of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
What Drives Clinton? Not What You Think: The former Secretary of State thinks President Obama has made serious foreign policy errors, and she is determined to restore U.S. prestige from the White House - Kim Ghattas, Daily Beast: Clinton will need to work hard to explain to voters why what she did as secretary of state matters to them in the United States, and why her vision for American global leadership and “smart power” serves them best. There has always been a tug of war in American politics between the poles of intervention and disengagement, and after the misadventures of the Bush years, the pendulum has swung perhaps too far the other way. Can Clinton help find the elusive middle ground in American foreign policy between the hubris of Bush and the reluctance of Obama? It’s a challenge she should find irresistible.