Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2 Public Diplomacy Review

“(World War I) was the most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery that has ever taken place on earth. Any writer who said otherwise lied. So the writers either wrote propaganda, shut up, or fought.”

Ernest Hemingway; WWI image from


Introducing our Summer 2014 Issue: The Power of Non-State Actors - Public Diplomacy Magazine: "In recent decades, the emergence of the Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) has revolutionized the possibilities within the international political landscape. With expanded opportunities to cultivate networks over distances, Non-State Actors (NSAs) have emerged as significant players in the global system.

While the traditional definition of public diplomacy refers to governmental practices of informing and influencing foreign publics through intercultural communication, NSAs have rapidly adopted public diplomacy processes in their increased diplomatic relations with state actors. The 12th issue of Public Diplomacy Magazine, 'The Power of Non-State Actors,' enlists a wide range of expertise to illustrate the diversity of NSAs and the public diplomacy tools they employ." Image from entry


A rationale and framework for responsible U.S. action in the Syrian crisis - Sanjay Gokhale, "Despite all the challenges at home and abroad, America must take a leadership role: It must take decisive steps toward the resolution of the Syrian crisis. ... All of these actions must be accompanied with a public diplomacy at a global scale. It is crucial that the governments and people around the world are aware of these actions, their successes and their failures. The best-case scenario is the aforementioned action levels the balance of power and brings the two parties to the table. But if it doesn’t and the death toll keeps rising, the public diplomacy would create significant pressure on Russia and China to not veto the UNSC Resolution for use of force. But what happens if – despite our actions, public diplomacy and growing pressure – Russia vetoes the UNSC Resolution [against Syria]?

Should the U.S. and its allies then use force without UNSCR approval as they did in Kosovo and Iraq? Not in my opinion. An action violating the norms and laws agreed upon by the international community is not responsible and ultimately defeats the very purpose of bringing peace and security. What we can and must do is to continue pushing on the legal levers and keep building the pressure. So does a responsible action guarantee a resolution to Syrian crisis? No. But nor would a unilateral and/or unlawful use of force. In fact, it may lead to more carnage and destruction as it did in Iraq. Responsible action is therefore a superior option over no action or unlawful action and one that would allow us a possibility of bringing end to the violence while also enhancing America’s reputation around the world." Uncaptioned image from entry

Update on Account Closures at Bank of America – Tyler Cullis, “Bank of America has issued a response to NIAC’s [National Iranian American Council] request for the bank to stop closing accounts of Iranians located in the US. In its letter, Bank of America states that Iranian accounts are being terminated in order to uphold the bank’s 'due diligence' obligations under US sanctions law. Over the past few months, NIAC has received a significant number of communications from Iranians across the US – primarily Iranian students studying at US universities – informing us that Bank of America

is closing or restricting their bank accounts with no prior notification or explanation. … The Obama Administration has long made it clear that expanding people-to-people ties with Iran is a significant and enduring US interest. In that vein, the Treasury Department issued a new General License this past March aimed at fostering academic exchanges between US and Iranian universities. In past years, too, the State Department has also made significant efforts to facilitate greater access to student visas for Iranians, which has led to an increase in the number of Iranian students studying at US universities. NIAC has been in contact with the Treasury and State Department regarding this issue, believing that both can play a vital role in ensuring that banks implement US sanctions law in a manner that does not conflict with the US’s broader public diplomacy goals." Image from entry

VOA Programming is Now Available in U.S. by Mobile Phone - "The Voice of America has signed a new agreement with the leading digital call-to-listen platform, AudioNow, to provide VOA programming inside the United States. The new agreement expands an on-going relationship between VOA and AudioNow, which already distributes programming from VOA in 34 languages by phone. ‘We are delighted that for the first time in its 72 year history VOA broadcasts will now be available inside the United States,” said VOA Director David Ensor. ‘There are so many people in diaspora communities in this country who want to hear news in their own language, and we can provide it.’ … The Voice of America’s agreement with AudioNow sets a new course for VOA, following the U.S. Congress’ amendment of legislation in January 2013 that had prohibited VOA from providing programs in the United States for most of the 72 years it has been on the air. The agreement also gives AudioNow the potential to offer a U.S. audience all 46 of the languages broadcast by VOA.  ‘Our mission is to connect anyone, anywhere to the news that matters with just a simple telephone call,’ said Elan Blutinger, CEO of AudioNow. ‘We’re very proud of our long partnership with VOA, whose programs play a tremendous role in informing and engaging audiences around the world.’” Via ACP on Facebook; below image from

Voice of America gives Obama – Poroshenko meeting announcement two sentences - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: Rudderless and floundering Voice of America (VOA) English News devoted only two sentences to the White House announcement late Friday afternoon that President Obama will meet with President-elect of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw at the 25th anniversary celebrations marking the end of communist rule in Poland. While VOA English News failed to post a separate news report with its own headline on the White House announcement of the Obama – Poroshenko meeting, dozens of international and U.S. media offered full-length reports with headlines referring specifically to the planned meeting. See also.

The era of impact strength .. and not the effect of the force! [Google "translation'] - Abdullah Khalifa Al-Shayji, Assad and al-Maliki and 'Al-Qaeda' and 'Front victory' and 'Daash' losing battle effect. And before them lost Iran impact strength of the model when it suppressed the revolution radiation in the presidential election in 2009., As well as America lost the battle for hearts and minds when they developed what it calls 'diplomatic public relations' Public Diplomacy to influence and win hearts and minds, so today there are office informing regional U.S. headed by U.S. diplomats speak Arabic fluently .. and there are satellite 'free' Radio 'Sawa' funded by the U.S. government from the American taxpayers. Has proceeded all the other major countries to launch satellites in several languages, including Arabic, such as Britain, France, Russia and China, to bring their views to the recipient Arab or other .. and even Turkey and Iran have satellite Arabic language to promote the policy and culture and language, Turkish and Persian.

This is the power of today's media used by the major countries and strong, led by America. And if all of that does not work well in Washington win battles for hearts and minds because of the painful images and degrading treatment at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan, Valother downside to this was the strongest of all the propaganda positive that sought America with all its power to exploit, invested millions to polish image. I fell America in the exam credibility and trust, and lost its prestige and became a state such as China issued an annual report on breaches of America's human rights, and no longer Washington convincing in their annual reports, or when lecturing on the countries and peoples and societies of other world about human rights and respect for the law and good governance. In all, the era of leverage means that States have to deal with their people educated and smart in a different way consistent with the openness and intelligent and informed citizens .. and even states are convincing and regulations, by grasping the dimensions of the power of influence and the influence of power is not feasible. This applies to all states and all their ratings!" Image from

Envoys, Korea chart future ties on Africa Day: S. Korea and African partners to convene 4th Korea-Africa Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - African envoys, including Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea Desmond Akawor, Foreign Minister Yun and other African and South Korean diplomats and business leaders met at the Federation of Korean Industries in Yeouido, Seoul, for a seminar and networking session that focused on investment and trade promotion in Egypt, Algeria, Kenya and Nigeria. ... South Korea is focused on increasing development assistance and public diplomacy, too.

'We will strengthen public diplomacy toward Africa and enhance awareness that Africa and Korea are true partners in working out the success equation,' Yun said." Image from entry, with caption: From left) Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea Desmond Akawor, Federation of Korean Industries chairman Huh Chang-soo and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se make a toast at a luncheon and networking reception at FKI‘s headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, Tuesday.

Zheng Manqing and the “Sick Man of Asia”: Strengthening Chinese Bodies and the Nation through the Martial Arts - Ben Judkins, Kung Fu Tea: Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies: "The modern Chinese martial arts seem to be a Janus headed phenomenon. On the one hand they have moved easily into the realm of global markets. Individuals from all areas of the world, and all walks of life, are studying these systems. Increasingly the Chinese state is harnessing this popularity by encouraging 'kung fu tourism' and making the martial arts part of its public diplomacy package.

Yet at the same time there remains a strong sense that these arts are distinctly 'national' and cultural in nature. Occasionally these two trends can even collide within a single organization, leading to feelings of confusion and raising important questions about the future development of the traditional arts." Image from entry, with caption: Zheng Manqing with sword, possibly on the campus of Columbia University in New York City

J.G. Herder, Nationalism and Cultural Relations - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: [T]he whole history of public diplomacy/cultural relations makes little sense without th[e] identification between civil society and country even if not always explicitly conceptualized as 'nation'."


No Point at West Point: A foreign policy of cliché and equivocation - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal: One could disagree contemporaneously with Reagan about the severity of the Soviet menace, or with Lincoln about the desirability of keeping the Union together.

But Obama states his "foreign policy" as a series of truisms, each balanced by an opposite truism. He ends up saying next to nothing in the course of covering every base. Image from

The Insiders: There is no ‘Obama Doctrine’ - Ed Rogers, Washington Post: No one thinks America is stronger today than it was five years ago. Period. There is no Obama Doctrine; there is only an Obama-centric gloss on world events, declaring success no matter the facts. His speech reminds one of an old mantra, “Tell me what happened and I will tell you what the plan was.”

Worldview: An Obama disconnect on foreign policy - Trudy Rubin, Obama rightly says the odds of a direct attack from any foreign nation are minimal. But in a rapidly changing world, with China rising, Russia invading its neighbors, and terrorists multiplying, he failed to clarify how he would counter new threats.

It's fine to denounce war and call for strengthening international norms. But if Obama wants foreign leaders to take him seriously, he must clarify how he will handle those who ignore international rules and coalitions. The world is watching what he does, not what he says. Image from

Putin Did Americans a Favor: Ukraine is a wake-up call for what a post-American world would look like - Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal: Putin's move on Ukraine sends a strong message: American values and interests are unlikely to thrive if American power is in eclipse. The Pax Americana and the hope of a liberal and humane global system still rest on the weary shoulders of Uncle Sam. Those who think American decline is inevitable must face a tragic truth: The eclipse of American power will be a disaster for our economic interests, for the values we cherish, and in the end for our security at home. What stability, peace and legality now exist in the international system are there because the U.S., with important help from allies and partners, made great sacrifices to build and secure them. The imposing edifice of the liberal world system would soon fall into ruin without that foundation.

The hard-line China of Tiananmen Square, on a global scale - Joe Renouard, Los Angeles Times: The U.S. is hardly without guilt in the human rights arena. Washington has supported its share of rogues and dictators in years past, and even today counts among its friends a number of illiberal, undemocratic regimes. The narrow defense of national interests has often forced Americans to compromise on democratic principles.

But Beijing's active undermining of international human rights is on another level altogether. For the foreseeable future, outsiders will have a limited ability to pressure China to expand civil and political liberties at home and accommodate democracy abroad. If and when lasting changes come to China, they will have to come from within. Image from

Chinese Communist propaganda in American public schools - Thomas Lifson, American Thinker: Is it really wise to allow a foreign state propaganda agency to control the content of education about that country in our public schools? That’s what is happening now, thanks to the Confucius Institute, and arm of the Chinese government, funding Chinese language instruction in American schools. Keep Chinese language instruction, but don’t keep foreign funding with propaganda strings attached.

Sisi and the Palestinians - Ali Jarbawi, New York Times: Egypt will not be able to rise to its former regional grandeur, the sort it enjoyed under Nasser, until it liberates itself from its absolute surrender to the United States, which has, since Sadat, transformed it into nothing more than a satellite in America’s political orbit — so much so that by the end of the Mubarak era, it appeared to be merely following America’s orders. It appears that Mr. Sisi will have different relations with the United States than his predecessors did. While continuing to maintain Egypt’s strong ties to America, there are signs that he plans to steer Egypt toward a more independent foreign policy; his recent trip to Russia is one indication.

Russian ambassador to Canada calls for end to ‘propaganda’ - Jason Magder, Canada might talk tough against Russia, but it’s all propaganda aimed at creating artificial tension, that country’s ambassador said Thursday. In an interview with The Gazette’s editorial board, Georgiy Mamedov — set to retire next month after serving 11 years as Russia’s highest diplomat in this country — called the current state of affairs between the countries an aberration in otherwise exquisite diplomatic relations.

And he called on Canada to help negotiate an end to the crisis, rather than impose sanctions. “This isn’t a policy; it’s propaganda,” Mamedov said. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union. Lately in my discussions with your officials, I feel like I’m back in USSR, only this time it’s you who are listening to the central committee of the Communist party.” Mamedov said when the crisis erupted in Ukraine, it was Canada that cut off relations with Russia, and he’d like the two countries to continue to work together on issues that are of joint interest. Mamedov image from entry

Russia unleashing propaganda: Ukraine - Ukraine has accused Russia of unleashing a mass propaganda campaign to persuade global powers not to recognise an election that gave the presidency to a pro-Western tycoon. The United States for its part acknowledged a "fundamental disagreement" with Russia and said President Barack Obama would extend his support to Petro Poroshenko when he meets the winner of the May 25 presidential election in Warsaw on Wednesday.

The months-long fight for the future of the ex-Soviet nation - splintered between a more nationalist west and a heavily Russified southeast - has killed more than 300 people and resurrected the geopolitical barriers of the Cold War. Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsya, said Russia was now using every means at its disposal to unsettle the new Kiev leaders and regain control over its historic domain. Uncaptioned image from entry

Halya Coynash: The Kremlin's propaganda coup in Donetsk - Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very pleased with himself. The EU has all but retreated behind calls for ‘frank and open dialogue’ while US expressions of concern about Chechen and other foreign fighters entering Ukraine from Russia for the moment remain just that, and no more.

In the meantime, the authoritative Levada Centre has reported that Putin’s confidence rating among Russians in April stood at 82%, 18% higher than in January 2014, and on May 29 the ‘Vostok’ [East] battalion pulled off the perfect propaganda coup in the centre of Donetsk. Image from entry, with caption: Pro-Russian rebels carry their belongings as they leave the regional administration offices in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on May 30, 2014, after having been evicted from the building by fighters from the Vostok battalion, comprising irregular soldiers from Chechnya and other Russian regions. On Thursday afternoon, armed men from the rebel Vostok Battalion stormed into the building, saying they were looking for supermarket looters. They reportedly demanded that activists from the People's Republic of Donetsk leave the building they had controlled.

How the Kremlin is killing off the last of Russia’s independent media - Masha Gessen, As the media crackdown becomes more targeted—as it inevitably will—the number of available workarounds will surely decrease, making the editing more difficult and further shrinking the readership.

The BBC: Masters of Black Propaganda: 'Nation shall Speak Truth unto Nation' - The Ironic BBC motto - Dr. David Halpin, Global Research: The power and reach of ‘Aunty’ BBC is supreme. Its intentions remain ostensibly ‘to educate, inform and entertain.’ It can educate well and it entertains a lot. How could a broadcaster lie,and lie in every hour and on the other hand commission a series which was very well written and acted, and which had a very strong moral base.

Thailand Isn't Banning Social Media, It Needs It For Propaganda - Danielle Wiener-Bronner, In the days since the military quickly and efficiently staged a coup in Thailand, citizens' access to social media has been questionable. Facebook was briefly blocked in the country earlier this week, with a Thai official telling Reuters that "we have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them."

(Those companies, for what it's worth, did not meet with the self-appointed leaders.) More than 100 websites have been blocked, and the new leaders said shortly after the takeover that "it is not the policy of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to close down any social media. However, specific sites which instigate hatred or disseminate false information have been asked for their cooperation in refraining from further incitement."  Indeed, the leaders don't seem intent on shutting down social media sites altogether — rather, they are using the popular platforms to further an already robust propaganda campaign.
Image from entry, with caption: A passer-by poses in front of soldiers in central Bangkok on May 24, 2014.

Norwegian Students Fed Anti-Israel Propaganda in Exam: Discredited report from Gaza by Marxist Mads Gilbert presented to over 40,000 students as fact - A Norwegian-language test administered to over 40,000 high-school students across Norway, included blatant anti-Israel propaganda. One of the questions presented a photo of a graffiti drawing by a British street artist on Israel's security barrier and an SMS sent by Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert from Gaza during the Cast Lead counter-terror offensive in 2009, and asked to analyze the drawing and text.

Gilbert's SMS says: "They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza city two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed. All came here to Shifa. We wade in death, blood and amputees... Many children. Pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything this horrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We're living in the history books now, all of us!" The text next to the photo of the graffiti explains: "This graffiti is painted on the wall that the Israeli authorities built in the West Bank. The wall is 8 meters high and surrounds the city of Bethlehem, among other things." The Israel-based Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism claimed that the exam is biased against Israel. There is no explanation of why Israel felt it necessary to build a wall, it noted, or why it attacked Gaza. Image from entry, with caption: Israel Norway soccer game

State Department Enters 19th Century - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Traditions are fun, and we all certainly enjoy dressing up at Halloween as Sexy Soccer Mom or Sexy Soccer Dad with Kids in Tow. Good times. When my kids were younger I had great fun dressing up as Santa Claus, sometimes even at Christmas. However, in the age of social media, images have assumed a greater significance. So, let’s ask ourselves what these images of State’s ambassadors presenting their credentials in Japan and the UK convey:

Book Review: Pomegranate Peace - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Pomegranate Peace, a new novel by Rashmee Roshan Lall, is a funny, sad and all-too-true piece of fiction about the failure of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and about the crippling isolation America’s diplomats impose on themselves in that misguided war. The author, Rashmee Roshan Lall, worked for the U.S. State Department in Kabul as a contractor. Though she is clear that her book is fiction, and that none of the characters and events are real, her descriptions of her colleagues, their surroundings and their attitudes toward their work are scary-spot on.

She reminds us that the Afghan’s referred to the flow of U.S. dollars as “irrigation,” and joked that those who worked alongside the Americans had been tamed. Her description of daily life inside the embassy is very accurate: …The odds were very good if you were an unaccompanied woman. The men– predatory or passionate or just passing through on what was called TDY or temporary duty – were decidedly odd. They were a mix-– military, diplomats, development workers, private contractors. It didn’t matter if they were married, unaccompanied and prowling, or unmarried and prowling – all of them suffered acutely from an affliction that Americans in the badlands of Afghanistan knew, dreaded and awaited with dreary expectation: an acute, aching loneliness. Being an American in Afghanistan was the loneliest you could get. The money was good; the levels of stress kept pace. It is curiously stirring in all sorts of ways to be constantly told-– and to believe-– that everyone is out to get you. Image from

'Darker Shades of Red' explores Soviet Russia through propaganda art at the Museum of Russian Icons - Sam Bonacci, The evocative propaganda art of Soviet Russia from the 1940s through 1990s will be on display at the Museum of Russian Icons' "Darker Shades of Red" exhibit beginning in June.  "My favorite part is how thought provoking in general the images are. They are very emotional and intense. You can understand them very easily," Laura Garrity-Arquitt, registrar of the museum, said recently. "The graphic designers had a single frame to elicit a strong emotional response and give a specific message."

The objects in Darker Shades come from the private collection of Gary Hollingsworth, a Florida art restorer who traveled extensively in the former Soviet Union. The exhibition includes 55 original Soviet posters (with translations) and other items, such as medals and orders, statuettes and factory banners. Some of the posters, an important form of communication and reinforcement of Soviet dogma, on display may be jarring at first, Garrity-Arquitt said, but they are all quite beautiful. Many of the pieces pull from religious icons, repurposing styles of images towards the goals of the government creating the posters. The items in the show display a particular facet of Russian culture that reached throughout the daily lives of those living in Soviet Russia. "It's one of the times where Russia and US relations were at their lowest and I think that is something that we need to understand," Garrity-Arquitt said. "Our overall goal is to bridge the culture gap, if we can, between America and Russia ... this show allows us to explore how Russia thought during the Cold War." Uncaptioned image from entry

IMAGE (This rainbow waterfall)

From: Priscilla Frank, "11 Mesmerizing 3D Chalk Art Masterpieces That Will Melt Your Brains," The Huffington Post

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