Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 8-9 Public Diplomacy Review

All efforts to make politics aesthetic culminate in one thing, war.”

Walter Benjamin; image from


A Modest Proposal: Make England the 51st State! - John Brown, Notes and Essays

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Check Out the State Department's Anti-ISIL Propaganda - Zenon Evans, reason.com: "The Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIL or ISIS) has gotten a lot of attention for its somewhat successful use of propaganda directed at the West.  … Of course, in a warzone both sides use propaganda, and the State Department recently released a video of its own. The clip was actually published on Youtube several weeks ago, but just caught media attention this weekend. It's a pretty straight forward pitch: If you join ISIL, you're actually harming other Muslims and you're going to get yourself killed sooner rather than later. It's got over 500,000 views ... but it's also got graphic footage of beheadings and crucifixions, so it's probably not safe for work … Playing catchup to ISIL's spread throughout social media, the U.S. government is also posting daily on the Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign is called ‘Think Again, Walk Away’ and it's geared at English-speakers who are tempted to join the terrorist organization. … America's information front focuses a lot on kids: ISIL isn't letting kids go to school, ISIL is eating meat while children eat bread, ISIL is killing children and using them as suicide bombers. It also features on individuals who became jihadists but are now disillusioned with the fight, as well as Muslims who denounce ISIL as hypocritical and unfaithful to the religion's teachings. ... The Islamic State is savvy about social media, to the point that Iraq had to block Facebook and Twitter earlier this year. It's not too surprising that ISIL is so good at this type of propaganda, though. Many of its fighters are pop culture-consuming millennials, a fact that was made so strangely vivid when they were tweeting their thoughts about the death of Robin Williams and his films like Jumanji."

The propaganda war Obama is losing - Josh Gerstein, politico.com: "Officials and outside experts say an essential part of fighting ISIL, Al Qaeda and similar groups is undercutting their propaganda on social media and elsewhere, while identifying and dissuading Americans and foreigners who might be considering travel to join up with such groups or — even worse — trying to emulate them at home. ... Notwithstanding Obama’s concession about the need to strengthen the counter-narrative, the White House contends that the administration has been aggressive about undermining terrorist messages and recruitment. ... An office Obama created at the State Department three years ago, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, is attempting to counter ISIL’s sophisticated and prolific social media presence.

In recent weeks, it has been promoting a mock recruiting video for the Islamic State, including extremely graphic images of the group executing Muslims and carrying out a suicide bombing in a mosque. 'We have basically a negative role, bringing the light to shine on the adversary’s action, principally using their own words and deeds against them,' said a State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ... [A] central problem for the U.S. in the current anti-terror fight is that U.S. foreign policy lacks a central theme that can be easily explained and have appeal to potential terrorist converts, some critics say" Image from

National Security: U.S. attempts to combat Islamic State propaganda - Anne Gearan, washington post.com: "The stunning rise of the ­Islamic State militant group as both a battlefield force and an Internet juggernaut over the summer has given new urgency to a State Department effort to counter online militant propaganda with a U.S. messaging campaign. U.S.-government-made video that recently made the rounds on social media — with graphic images of Islamic State executions and a beheaded body — is the best-known example of the attempt to expose the brutality of the Islamist group and undermine its ­online recruitment appeals."

What the Heck is Tim Byres Doing in Kyrgyzstan? - Whitney Filloon, dallas.eater.com: "Tim Byres: chef, restaurateur, James Beard-award winning cookbook author, and now, culinary ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. Byres is currently en route to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on behalf of the State Department's diplomatic culinary partnership, which was founded in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation back in 2012; according to an official statement, the partnership 'seeks to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts.'

(Of course, culinary diplomacy isn't exactly something new for Byres; prior to moving to Texas, he was the executive chef at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.) While abroad, Byres will promote American cuisine to his foreign audience through grilling workshops, lectures and classes for professional chefs; he'll also appear on local morning shows, learn about Kyrgyz cuisine, meet with local village shepherds, utilize local ingredients to cook Texas-style cuisine for foreign leaders and, proving that maybe Kyrgyzstan and Texas aren't so different after all, even participate in a local barbecue festival. Perhaps diners will see some Kyrgyz influences pop up on the menu at Smoke in the near future?" Uncaptioned image from entry

Notice of Meeting: U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson. Washington, DC, September 8, 2014 - state.gov: "The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will meet in open session at the Capitol Visitor’s Center (First Street, Southeast), Room SVC209-08 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 16 from 10-11:30 a.m. The Commission Members will discuss the findings and recommendations from its official report 'Data-Driven Public Diplomacy: An Assessment of Research and Evaluation Offices for Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting.' ... This meeting is open to the public."

Will Voice of America management violate VOA Charter and U.S. law in a deal with communist Vietnam? - bbgwatch.com- "Steve Peacock reported in an article on the WND website that 'the Obama administration is looking to negotiate with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the government that emerged after a war costing more than 58,000 American lives, to carry a ‘Welcome to America’

radio program over its state radio station. ...'  ... With this contract, senior VOA and IBB executives in effect announce that they do not intend to apply the VOA Charter (U.S. Public Law 94-350) to any program that might be allowed to air on the Voice of Vietnam network. These executives are in effect announcing to U.S. taxpayers who will pay for this program and for its placement that they are agreeing to censorship to please the communist government of Vietnam." Image from

Four Questions for NATO’s Leaders - Kathleen J. McInnis, defenseone.com: "NATO’s public diplomacy challenge is a multifaceted one. First and foremost, the alliance’s publics must understand its utility and necessity in addressing common security challenges. This is, in itself, an enormous undertaking after experiencing an unprecedented level of relative security and stability after the end of the Cold War. Yet there may be a more fundamental issue at stake. It seems that a significant gap has emerged between what NATO is technically responsible for, and what the public perceives are its responsibilities. NATO is a military alliance that undertakes defence tasks such as combat, training foreign militaries and stability operations. Non-military security tasks requiring multinational solutions, such as improving governance or tackling organized crime, are usually handled by other, non-military organizations such as the European Union or the United Nations. Yet many of the threats that allies face cannot be solved by military means alone and the subtle, yet important distinction between what constitutes a defence versus a security task is often lost."

NATO and the Millennials - Eliane de Merode, rusi.org: "Since Twitter is a twenty-first-century communications tool, it can arguably help to bring the Alliance closer to the post-Cold War generation it seeks to embrace. NATO has also explored the use of mobile technology to develop its public image, with the release, in 2013, of an iPhone app providing live news from all of its missions. What is more properly known as ‘public diplomacy’ has thus become part of day-to-day life for NATO employees, with a key part of this public-relations effort dedicated to interacting with the younger generation. At the same time, NATO continues to pursue more conventional methods of engaging with

the Millennials, including through the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA)." Image from

Weak leaders limit EU's influence - Richard Werly, bangkokpost.com: "[T]he EU does not yet understand the scope of the global crisis which is affecting its interests, from Russia to Asia. Despite a severe economic crisis, a public debt bomb not yet defused, an explosive rate of unemployment in several southern countries, and an ageing population tempted to become more and more conservative and easily manipulated by nationalists, the EU still believes it has time to fix problems, and still sees communication, charisma and public diplomacy as tools rather than as agents of change. This assessment is dead wrong."

The EU's interminable changing of the guard - euobserver.com: "Donald Tusk, EU Council president, and Federica Mogherini, EU foreign minister, came to their posts via ... a mishmash of geographical, political affiliation, gender and (for novel effect) error . ...

Mogherini, propelled into the limelight by ambitious Italian leader Matteo Renzi, has little public diplomacy experience." Mogherini image from

Germany needs more leadership on foreign policy - Joseph Janning, ecfr.eu: "Evidently, Germans want to be led responsibly, rather than to lead their leaders in calling for more responsibility. Germans seem ready to be convinced of the need for action if and when leaders dare to take steps to convince them. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s decision to launch a review process involving public and international participation is a step in that direction. This process could act as a public diplomacy tool to lay the groundwork for tougher foreign policy debates."

Ue: a Torino tre mesi di eventi per semestre italiano di presidenza - torino.repubblica.it: "Si aprirà con il Bureau straordinario del Comitato delle Regioni, l'assemblea dei rappresentanti locali dell'Ue, il programma di eventi torinesi per il Semestre italiano di presidenza dell'Unione Europea. ... In particolare il 12 settembre avrà luogo la tavola rotonda ''Jobs in Europe'' a cui è prevista la partecipazione del ministro del Lavoro, Giuliano Poletti. Ministri, vice ministri e ospiti internazionali animeranno il calendario di eventi che si svolgeranno nei tre mesi successivi, fino alla due giorni dell'11 e 12 dicembre, quando il capoluogo piemontese ospiterà la prima edizione del Forum italo-tedesco, evento di public diplomacy con la partecipazione di 60 top leader economici e accademici di Italia e Germania."

Has Ukraine Shot Itself in the Foot With Gas Pipeline Deal? - theenergycollective.com: "In Eastern Europe, many countries are not ready to follow Ukraine’s footsteps and renounce energy sovereignty. It’s no longer fashionable to be a banana republic. The deep-seated crisis in Ukraine and the success story of Nord Stream have encouraged other EU countries, such as Hungary, to diversify their natural-gas supply routes.

Hungary’s secretary of state for public diplomacy and relations, Zoltán Kovács, recently quoted a statement from his country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán: 'No one can question our sovereign right to guarantee our natural gas supplies.'” Image from

Engaging with future leaders - Shaun Star, thehindu.com: "In a few months, 15 young leaders (18-40 years of age) from India will visit Australia to meet and engage with 15 of the best and brightest young leaders of Australia. Over the three-day conference, AIYD 2015 delegates will discuss critical issues in the Australia-India relationship and key challenges and opportunities facing the two countries. Discussions will be structured around panels led by experts in the areas of governance and public policy, public diplomacy and soft power, innovation, business and education."

Foreign policy reforms under Jokowi - Ben Perkasa, thejakartapost.com: "In accordance with Jokowi-Kalla’s platform [president-elect Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla], the four center stages of Indonesian foreign policy are maritime cooperation, Indonesia’s role as a middle power, regionalism beyond ASEAN that positions itself within the regional architecture of the Indo-Pacific region and the enhancement of diplomatic resources. In terms of thematic approaches, the protection of Indonesian overseas workers, public diplomacy, economic diplomacy and the issue of Palestine are among the fundamental bedrocks of Jokowi’s foreign relations agenda."

Global competition: Need is to challenge existing global paradigm - thenewstribe.com: “'Powerful players in today’s competition – be it business, politics wars or other areas – have the ability to influence not only the ground situation from a distance but also the human minds by managing the perceptions in their favor irrespective of the legitimacy or otherwise of their objectives. It is no wonder then that though the number and intensity of disputes and conflicts is generally on the rise, in many cases these are justified with attractive catch-words and slogans.

Thus the interests of powerful far-away players are actually protected. Added attention on public diplomacy and advocacy organizations also reflects this phenomenon.' This was the premise of a paper: 'Competition without Zero-Sum Outcome: China’s Role in a Changing World' presented by Khalid Rahman, Director General, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, at a three-day international conference being held in Beijing, China from 3rd to 5th September." Uncaptioned image from entry

No give-and-take policy over UNSC candidature: Japan - en.prothom-alo.com: "Bangladesh’s withdrawal of candidature in the election for a non-permanent seat in United Nations Security Council in favour of Japan has not come in exchange of any financial package or any give-and-take policy, as the strong ties between the two countries have been behind it. 'It's because of long-term relations between Japan and Bangladesh. We'll always consider Bangladesh as trusted friend even if Bangladesh continues to contest the election,' said Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Kuni Sato on Sunday. ... Sato, also the Director General for Press and Public Diplomacy of Japan, said the Japanese leaderships are of the view that the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in many ways is a wise woman and Bangladesh now has a good leader. 'She knows how to develop relations by striking a balance.'”

Netanyahu Thanks Christian Group For Support During Gaza Operation - jpupdates.com: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Executive Director Dr. Juergen Buehler last week, thanking the Christian Zionist organization for its support of Israel during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. ...

ICEJ sent hundreds of residents of the south, including people with special needs and at-risk youths, on vacations around Israel and abroad, offering them an escape from the incessant rocket fire. The organization also sent food and clothing to Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza, organized public diplomacy campaigns for Israel overseas, and held pro-Israel rallies worldwide, including in Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, and South Africa." Image from

Knesset committee set to review Operation Protective Edge - israelhayom.com: "T]the Subcommittee for Intelligence will examine the information the IDF had on Hamas' terror tunnels; the Subcommittee for the State of Alert and Field Security will review claims that outdated military equipment was used during the ground incursion; the Subcommittee for Personnel in the Israel Defense Forces will analyze the issues relevant to reservists; and the Subcommittee for Foreign Affairs and Public Diplomacy will review Israel's diplomatic efforts in the international arena during the fighting."

Egypt insists on 'win-win' result on Ethiopian dam: Foreign minister - english.ahram.org.eg: " Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry

said that there was complete understanding from the Ethiopian side of Egyptian concerns regarding its share of Nile water . ... Egypt’s foreign minister also revealed that his Ethiopian counterpart had told him that an Ethiopian public diplomacy delegation was going to visit Cairo within the coming days." Shoukry image from article

“The West may support Azerbaijan more about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” - news.az: "Interview with Dr Sezai Ozcelik, head of the International Relations Department at Cankiri Karatekin University. ... [Ozcelik:] If you look at the Turkish responses

to other Turkish and Muslim nations in the world, you can easily see that Turkey not only use traditional diplomacy but also public diplomacy. ... Turkish foreign policy is based on more Islamic values and identity than Turkic and Euro-Asian identity. ... In short, it is unrealistic to expect Turkey play any roles any conflicts in the Turkic world." Uncaptioned image from entry

Diplomatic popularity» .. what the term and its historical development [Google "translation'] - Imad Almodaifir, aleqt.com: "During the nineties the calendar, it has

become commonplace to use public diplomacy in foreign policy circles at the international level." Almodaifir image from entry


We Learned (the Hard Way) the Value of Restraint in Iraq; We Can’t Forget It Now Against ISIS - Colonel Stephen Liszewski, blogs.cfr.org: As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to dominate the headlines, many commentators have called on U.S. policymakers to remember the lessons produced by over a decade of hard fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. One of the key lessons from those conflicts is the importance of patience and restraint when responding to enemy aggression. A premature or imprecise application of U.S. military power in response to recent ISIS actions could undermine our larger efforts to defeat this threat and the larger threat of violent extremism in the region.

We learned the importance of patience and restraint at the tactical level in Iraq; these lessons are applicable now at the strategic level against ISIS. Much of the success of U.S. forces in Al Anbar province in 2007 came from our ability to fight the insurgency with great tenacity and skill while simultaneously minimizing collateral damage. We deprived the enemy of a key propaganda message and made it more difficult for them to generate local support for their operations. Image from entry, with caption: Iraqi girls gesture as they celebrate after Iraqi security forces entered the town of Amerli September 1, 2014

ISIS and War Propaganda: The Mainstream Media is Selling Fear to Control the Public - William C. Lewis, globalresearch.ca: The media is selling fear of beheadings to the public.

Syria is destroyed and so is Iraq, principally at the hands of the U.S. military machine and western partners. The ISIS is a 100 percent product of the U.S. proxy destabilization policy against Syria. Image from entry

Twitter employees threatened by ISIS-affiliated group - Kale Williams, sfgate.com: A Twitter account associated with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, issued disturbing threats Monday, calling for the assassination of Twitter employees in San Francisco, according to a number of news outlets. The ominous tweets came as the social media company has sought to crack down on accounts associated with ISIS and propaganda posts from the terror group, including grisly videos of executions.

Putin’s Ukrainian Propaganda - Benjamin Reedman, nouse.co.uk: The crisis in Ukraine has brought to the limelight, perhaps like never before, the scale and the success of the Kremlin propaganda machine.

Russian Website Hosts Terror Propaganda: Kicked off American sites, ISIL moves to Russia - freebeacon.com: Propaganda and media accounts associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are now being hosted by a Russian social media platform after the terror group was thrown off U.S. sites such as Twitter, according to a new intelligence report.

At least 18 official ISIL accounts responsible for disseminating the group’s violent propaganda, including two videos of Americans being beheaded, are currently being hosted by the VK website, Russia’s largest social network, according to an intelligence brief released by the SITE Intelligence Group. Image from entry, with caption: ISIL fighters marching in Syria

Behind Russia’s “Propaganda Bullhorn” - William Zimmerman, perspectives.carnegie.org: The temptation is to dismiss everything emanating from the Kremlin and in the Russian press as, as Secretary of State John Kerry has put it, stemming from “a propaganda bullhorn” reflecting “a fantasy.” This would be a mistake.

North Korea set for rare sports foray in South - James Pearson, wtaq.com: A delegation of over 250 North Korean athletes, coaches and officials will take a rare flight south of the inter-Korean border to participate in the 17th Asian Games this month, hoping to raise the reclusive country's profile on the international sporting stage. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is at the center of a state propaganda drive to turn the isolated country into a "sports superpower" and has rewarded medal-winning athletes with luxury apartments, entertained flamboyant NBA hall of famer Dennis Rodman, and even tried his hand at coaching.

IMAGES (USA and Russia at war)

From: A War Between the USA and Russia as Seen by American Artists [in Russian]

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