John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review (2023)

"When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. ... Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion."

--Thomas Jefferson (1825); image from


The Oscars: Politics Unchained? Amid few surprise wins at the Academy Awards, we ask if Hollywood is attempting to reflect or to shape the real world -

Marine Corps Embassy Security Guard - How far will you go -

"Laundry Song" Performed by Peng Liyuan - from James Griffiths, "Splendid China: The Propaganda Theme Part of Sinicization!"


Indian Diplomacy - Blog: Official blog of Public Diplomacy Division of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India


Because Che Shirts Are For Poseurs:"Official’ North Korean Website Offering American-Made Propaganda For The Discerning Hipster - Image from entry


John Kerry, A 'Recovering Politician,' Settles Into Diplomatic Role - Michele Kelemen, "Secretary of State John Kerry describes himself as a recovering politician. He's just getting used to the fact that he can't speak quite as freely as he did when he was a senator. 'Each word means more, each relationship is played differently,'he said in an interview with NPR, at the end of a nine-nation swing through Europe and the

Middle East

. 'As a senator, you just don't have those stakes riding in it.' ... Kerry rarely ventured out from the official meetings in palaces and foreign ministries on this trip. When he did try his hand at public diplomacy at an Internet cafe in


, he got a bit carried away as he made the case for free speech and tolerance in


. 'Americans have the right to be stupid if you want to be,' he proclaimed in what becameone of the most quoted phrases of the trip.It even made headlines in


." See also: John Brown (last ca. 3 minutes of clip), "Kerry Makes First Trip As Secretary Of State," Huffington Live

The secret legality of drone strikes - David Ucko, "What the administration needs – and what the drone programme needs, to be sustainable – is greater buy-in: among its partners internationally and its own people here in the United States. Otherwise, the benefits of the programme may be outweighed, or at least compromised, by its symbolism and political payload. The point would be to promote the accounts of local acceptance highlighted above and to seek ways of making the drone strike equally acceptable among other audiences. Such an effort would require public diplomacy, some changes in policy (greater focus on joint efforts, or efforts presented as joint), but also greater transparency. Rather than keeping the legal justification in the shadows and letting conspiracy theorists run wild, show conviction in your actions, make the case publicly, in a way that will persuade."

Western outsourcing of regime change in Syria may mean chaos - Moritz Pieper, Octavius Pinkard, The Daily Star: "Recent events could signal the advent of a Western alliance willing to work in a more outspoken manner for the fall of the Assad regime, even in the absence of a U.N.-backed mandate. And when the German Bundestag approved the deployment of Patriot missiles to the Turkish-Syrian border, Assad reacted with a series of unmistakably more assertive diplomatic signals, demonstrating that the West was perhaps beginning to close in on the Syrian regime. The Patriot missiles are for the interception of incoming Syrian missiles and aircraft only, and are deployed too far north of the Syrian border to constitute the imposition of an indirect no-fly zone. Their deployment, though, is an important diplomatic gesture of NATO solidarity, reinforcing the notion that any spillover of the conflict into Turkish territory would trigger NATO retaliation. At the same time, the deployment sends parallel signals to Turkey. On the one hand, it reassures a NATO member about its security and protection. On the other, given that Turkish public diplomacy has become increasingly aggressive lately, the deployment of the Patriot batteries could indicate a NATO attempt to preclude any unilateral military actions by Turkey. ... A solution to the Syrian stalemate cannot be achieved without also taking Iranian policy perceptions and sensitivities seriously. Iran, as Assad’s last and only regional ally, does not want to see him fall. The Iranians need Assad and the Alawite minority to stay in power so that Syria can remain a transit country for the delivery of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Any policy considerations currently on the table, be they open NATO intervention (which is unlikely), indirect and simmering NATO meddling (the deployment of Patriot missiles might point in that direction), or simply the current more outspoken anti-Assad public diplomacy on the part of Western governments, will prove as ill-conceived as those that governed the Libyan mission."

Establishment of an Academic Partnership in Composition, Instrumental, and Vocal Music with the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi, Pakistan - "The Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U. S. Consulate General in Karachi announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish an Academic Partnership in Music (Composition, Instrumental, and Vocal diploma programs) between a U. S. educational institution and the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi, Pakistan in Music. A nonprofit music academy, conservatory, community college, or an accredited four-year U.S college or university meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to pursue institutional or departmental objectives in partnership with the National Academy of Performing Arts. Objectives detailed as priorities for this partnership include: collaborative research, curriculum development, long-distance teaching via DVC, sharing of resources, and faculty and student exchange. Faculty exchange programs of three to four weeks, and student exchange programs of one semester are preferred by the National Academy of Performing Arts. The means of achieving these objectives is purposefully left broad to encourage the submission of innovative proposals tailored to the education and research goals of both institutions. Applicants should consult the National Academy of Performing Arts when developing their proposal. The timeframe for achieving the objectives must be clearly outlined in the proposal funding request. The project implementation period should be 36 months. Agency: Department of State Office: Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Estimated Funding: $1,000,000."

Public Diplomacy Grants Program - "Description [:] The Public Diplomacy Grants Program supports initiatives that promote educational and cultural engagement and foster mutual understanding between the United States and Iraq. Grants are awarded for projects designed to further the development of Iraq’s future leaders, build the capacity of Iraqi institutions, and promote awareness and understanding of shared U.S. and Iraqi values. Proposals are accepted at any time; applicants may be individuals or representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, cultural organizations, or research and academic institutions. Priority will be given to Iraqi applicants, although the program is open to U.S.-based not-for-profit organizations and institutions of higher education. Grant awards are subject to the availability of funds and generally will not exceed $100,000; most will be smaller. Requests for support for individual or group research projects or to help defray the costs of study abroad will not be considered. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:• Empowering Women and Youth• Encouraging Environmental Awareness• Promoting Civic Engagement and Strengthening Civil Society• Fostering Cultural Ties• Enhancing Professionalism in the Media [.] Applications will be evaluated based on the proposed topic, clearly formulated goals, the target group, and the capacity of the individual or organization to carry out the proposed activity. Cost-sharing and the inclusion of alumni of U.S. Department of State exchange programs in developing and implementing grant activity are encouraged. Applications should explain clearly any other likely sources of funding for the project. Examples of program activity include, but are not limited to:• Public outreach campaigns• Training programs• Seminars, workshops, or roundtable discussions• Cultural activities related to film, music, or literature.Proposals that support social welfare projects, partisan or political party activity, religious activity, or trade or other commercial activity will not be considered. ... If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact: Brian Shott Cultural Affairs Officer Phone 1 240 553 0581 ext 2962 U.S. Embassy, Baghdad."

Winning Our Own Hearts and Minds, Again- Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "We have seen this movie before, but let’s allow the US Army’s own 'public diplomacy' writerdescribeit to us once again: ['] Service members and U.S. embassy employees took part in a sports day event at the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, Feb. 16, as a part of the English Access Micro-scholarship Program. The program is a U.S. State Department-funded, two-year English-language program for Kuwaiti youth to not only learn the English language but to learn about American culture as well. ['] The story is that the US Embassy and the


military gather up a bunch of local kids as props, play at playing soccer, wrap it in the sweet coating that this is also some weird kind of English lesson, and make nice. ... The United States holds these kinds of feel-good events all the time, everywhere. We want to be loved as occupiers, want to believe that we are welcomed as liberators instead of merely tolerated as conquerors.

In that sense, these sorts of staged propaganda pieces are indeed a success– we’re not trying to convince the Kuwaitis to love us, we’re trying to convince ourselves that the Kuwaitis love us. BONUS! I took the photo, above, in Iraq, at a US-sponsored event to bring together our soldiers and some Iraqi orphans for a day of sports, food and fun." Image from entry

How Your State Dept is Dealing with the Sequester ($$$ Edition)- Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "Good news! ... State is ... offering another$1 millionbucks to anyone interested in setting up a cooperative agreement to establish a University Partnership with Karachi’s Kinnaird College for Women in English Literature."

Into Africa - Leah Mason, "Well-established scholarship programs such as the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships have noted a shift towards greater interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Long-Term Foreign Language Awards grant universities funds to carry out long-term projects that promote advanced language training for faculty and students overseas. Two of the eleven awards in the 2012-2015 cycle focused on African languages (Swahili and Yoruba). The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by IIE, which provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or English Teaching Assistantships, saw application numbers for awards to Sub-Saharan Africa increase by over 50% over the past decade. Politically stable countries are perennially the most popular among applicants, with over half of the Sub-Saharan Africa 2013-2014 academic year pool applying to Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa alone. The Gilman Scholarship, also sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by IIE, which seeks to diversify the students who study abroad and the places they go, offers awards for undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs.

Similar to Fulbright, Gilman’s applicants are drawn in large numbers to Ghana and South Africa, though the Sub-Saharan African countries with the most significant application increases in 2011-2012 were Botswana, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. Recent initiatives, sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and administered by the IIE, have increased the opportunities available to U.S. students to study African languages both domestically and abroad. The NSEP David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide funding for U.S. students studying critical languages in non-traditional study abroad destinations. A new African Languages Initiative (AFLI) for Boren applicants was established by Congress to further opportunities for study of the highest-priority African languages in recognition of the strategic and geopolitical importance of the countries where these languages are spoken. ... The most recently recorded oral proficiency interview results from AFLI Boren Award recipients demonstrate the success of the initiative — 15 out of 16 Swahili students, whose initial proficiencies were almost all at the Novice level, achieved the Advanced level. Students with an eye to federal careers such as health, development, public diplomacy, and national security are attracted to the AFLI Boren Award." Image from article

Update: Repatriation of Cambodian Art - "In the latest development in the Cambodian government’s effort to seize a thousand-year-old, five-hundred-pound sculpture from Sotheby’s, where it has been consigned by its owner for auction, two lawyers from the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan traveled to the Cambodian jungle in late February. (Repatriation of Cambodian Art…) The lawyers went to inspect the scene of the alleged crime, that is, a Khmer Dynasty temple from which the statue was allegedly looted in the 1970’s. The rationale for the trip is the subject of debate. While a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office maintained that the trip was business as usual, experts in cultural heritage law said it was rare for federal lawyers to visit a foreign archeological site, according to The New York Times. Lawyers agreed that the trip’s high profile underscores the State Department’s view that cultural heritage issues are a major part of public diplomacy. According to The Times, Peter R. Stern of McLaughlin and Stern, a veteran arts lawyer and onetime outside counsel for Sotheby’s, said, 'I find it hard to believe this would come without a directive from above, and I think it is more foreign policy than law enforcement.'"

Public Schedule for March 8, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 1:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with Ivan Vejvoda, Vice President Programs, The German Marshall Fund, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 3:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends the Secretary’s 2013 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony, at the Department of State. (OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)"

Public Schedule for March 7, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 8:00 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a breakfast on the occasion of International Women’s Day hosted by the Wilson Center, in Washington, DC. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST) 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends an International Women's Day Luncheon on Women's Economic Empowerment hosted by the United Nations Foundation, UN Information Center and Women's Foreign Policy Group, in Washington, DC. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST) 3:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine is interviewed by David Rothkopf of the Carnegie Endowment, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends the World Affairs Council Global Education Gala Reception, in Washington, DC. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)"

(Video) Public Diplomacy 2.0

State Department uses social media for diplomacy - Agence France-Presse, "Clinton did not tweet, but she propelled the State Department towards what she called 21st Century Statecraft, and social media engagement has taken off. There are now more than 300 Twitter accounts with some three million followers, over 400 Facebook pages with close to 20 million fans, and 185 YouTube channels as well as Flickr, Google+ and Instagram links run by the State Department, its embassies, staff and diplomats. ... while US diplomatic staff are excited about expanding their reach beyond the traditional embassy walls, there’s a recognition of the inherent problems associated with such freedom. As Kerry said during a trip to Rome diplomats are now working in 'an age where it isn’t a letter that comes from the cardinal to the king in some place; it’s instantaneous.' Last year, the Kremlin got involved in a heated Twitter row with US envoy Michael McFaul, the US mission in Cairo was under fire for a statement released about an anti-Islam video and Beijing has been infuriated by a US embassy Twitter feed monitoring pollution levels."

The Discussion of Internet Freedom Takes Center Stage in 2013 - Amelie Barratt, “The ability to reach millions through social media makes Internet freedom a top priority for the United States, seen not only as a desirable policy, but as an extension of basic human rights. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor within the U.S. Department of State defines it specifically as ‘an aspect of the universal rights of freedom of expression and the free flow of information.’ Today [mARCH 8]and tomorrow, the State Department is hosting Tech@State, a convention with its theme this year focusing on the use of technology to enhance and expand Internet freedom. The event, held at the George Washington University in Washington DC, will consist of panel discussions among key thinkers in the realm of Internet and how its freedom can enhance diplomacy worldwide. Also of note is the upcoming Fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum organized by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The three-day event from May 14 to 16, which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, will create an environment where experts and policy makers can 'exchange views on the key policy issues arising from today’s fast changing information and communication technology (ICT) environment.' Some hesitation among Internet freedom activists surrounds the event as many countries requested international regulation on Internet use at the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), held in Dubai, UAE, leaving activists worried that regulatory measures could lead to government overreach. With all these events lined up in the near future one can’t help but ask who exactly the audience is. Are policymakers truly the top tier and the only ones in need of inclusion? How could public, and more specifically, cultural diplomacy enhance these events? Cultural programs and student exchanges in the past have proven to be very effective in bridging gaps where nations are at odds, bringing publics together to work towards a common goal, in this case, Internet freedom. Perhaps this issue could use some help from public and cultural diplomacy practitioners to win the hearts and minds of those in need of convincing of the possibly great outcomes of Internet freedom.” Image from entry

Tech@State on Freedom To Connect - Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council: "Yesterday's Internet Freedom conference sponsored by Tech@State spanned broadcasting and public diplomacy. And everything else. More than 50 technologists discussed the global tug of war between human rights and repression, economic development and cyber attacks, and the erosion of privacy. Talking with State Department public diplomats I rarely hear of this topic.

I wonder how that will change when (probably not 'if') the United States suffers a zero-day attack. Andre Mendes was on the roster to speak about anti-censorship by U.S. Government foreign broadcasters. Last Monday he demonstrated BBG technology to open broadcast and web access for citizens in denied areas like North Korea, Iran and China. (For a Cliffs Notes version of Mendes' presentation, see Richard Lobo's blog post.) As on most every global issue, the United States is not without sin. The SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress would have limited internet access in the name of copyright protection if 'netizens' and big companies like Google had not protested loudly. Other bills and some laws aim to make our e-mail and apps 'wiretap ready.' When Rebecca MacKinnon called for a rating system to issue comparative ratings of big companies' privacy policies, the conference Twitter feed lit up. This question ran throughout: can the information sharing between corporations and government, currently mooted in the name of cyber security (and badly needed to avoid that zero-day attack) stop short of your personal information collected by those corporations? Former Secretary Clinton's speech on this topic remains a good introduction. I like how Clinton addressed the dark side of the internet frankly, from the standpoint of American values, without claiming to have all the answers. Several embassies were following the conference through Twitter and streaming video. Good for them! Internet freedom is a new issue and perhaps difficult to master, but it runs right through most of the topics of statecraft and public diplomacy. For that and many other reasons, PD staffers will do well to learn more about the subject." Image from

500 Interruptions and The Art Of Communication - Alastair Thompson, "I had the great pleasure ... of attending the opening of a new "Digital Engagement Center" at the US Embassy in Wellington. e great pleasure on Tuesday of attending the opening of a new 'Digital Engagement Center' at the US Embassy in Wellington. The new center is all about social media, digital diplomacy, and digital communication. It will be able to be used for interviewing US Government officials, academics and the like. The small group of attendees were mostly keen users of twitter - a communications pursuit they share a love of with the US Ambassador to NZ David Huebner @DavidHuebner (who has a very impressive 20,000+ twitter followers and a klout ranking of 78, only two less than @KimDotcom - and 5 places ahead of the Prime Minister @johnkeypm). The center was opened twice - first virtually via a live cross to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine [includes video]... . And then it was opened again by Ambass[a]dor Huebner - this time with an actual ribbon."

Obama's meeting with GOP tucked away at tony hotel- Ali Weinberg, NBC News: "President Barack Obama's bipartisan powwow with Senate Republicans this evening will happen far away from the watchful eyes of diners at Plume, the restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel, where the group is convening. ... Plume Executive Chef Chris Jakubiec, who is preparing the group's dinner tonight, is no stranger to DC diplomacy — he's a member of the State Department's American Chef Corps, part of an initiative to 'elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts.'"

The Digital Diplomacy Horizon [video] - Kelsey Suemnicht "Social media is an excellent supplemental tool in the practice and study ofpublic diplomacybecause it holds strategic potential for enhancing communication tactics, promoting policy objectives, and providing evaluation mechanisms. Social media provides a new platform from whichdiplomatscan benefit, provided it is a forum used effectively. It should not, however, replace or dominate the larger practice of public diplomacy. A foundation of PD is the people and the relationships that are affected by the policies it promotes. The negative side effects of utilizing this unique form of communication must be accounted for at all stages of planning. If the main aim of public diplomacy is to inform, engage, influence, empower, and understand foreign publics on behalf of an international actor, thensocial mediaoffers an innovative opportunity along the road to achieving that goal."

Hillary Clinton as the "Palatable Face to American Power": BBC's Kim Ghattas on Hillary Clinton in The Secretary - Meredith Turits, "Over four years starting in 2008, journalist Kim Ghattas logged 300,000 miles—without the sleep to match—as a member of former Secretary of StateHillary Clinton's traveling press corps with the BBC. She watched intimately as Secretary Clinton navigated matters of foreign policy on the ground during some of the most tense periods of her tenure but also some of her most human moments on the world's stage, both on the ground at town hall meetings and at all hours of the morning on an plane that badly needed an upgrade. InThe Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power(Times Books), Ghattas looks at the time she spent with Clinton and how her legacy will leave a mark on diplomacy. ... GLAMOUR: What would you consider to be her most underappreciated feats in diplomacy? KIM GHATTAS: I think that her public diplomacy is underappreciated, underreported. It’s very difficult to quantify the impact that public diplomacy has, and we’ll have to see over the coming years the results it does deliver or what sort of result it has delivered specifically.

But I do think it’s her relentless ability to engage with people at all levels—whether they’re world leaders or students, women or men, young, old—that ability went a long way in trying to present a more, if you will, palatable face to American power because American power is perceived quite differently when you’re not in the U.S., if you're not in the West. So for people like me, for example, who grew up in Lebanon in the civil war, or people in Afghanistan or people in Brazil or Nigeria. The perception of America is very different. The eight years of the Bush administration weren’t exactly the golden age of diplomacy. America remains a superpower, no matter who is the president or who the secretary of state is, there will always be hard feelings toward the superpower. I think Hillary Clinton was really able to connect with people—even if it required connecting one by one, person by person. She continued to do that throughout her tenure. Everywhere she went, just as she would bring up the issue of women, she would have civil society events and town hall meetings in countries where people are simply not be used to talking to their own leaders. When you go to Saudi Arabia or Tunisia, Egypt, or Iraq, people are not used to putting their questions directly to their leaders. Countries around the world aren’t necessarily forthcoming or willing to put themselves through hours of questions by their people. It goes a long way, but it’s difficult to quantify that. But I really do think it made a difference."Image from article, with caption: Clinton at a town hall meeting at the Ewha Womans University in Seoul on February 20, 2009

Hot chilis and adrenaline kept Hillary Clinton on the go[includes video] - Patrick Gavin, Politico: "Hillary Clinton’s rigorous travel schedule has become the stuff of State Department legend: During her time as secretary of state, Clinton logged nearly a million miles traveling around the world. The BBC’s Kim Ghattas followed Clinton for 300,000 of those miles and has a book out this week about the experience: 'The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power.' ... The secret to Clinton’s stamina, according to Ghattas? Hot peppers. 'She eats those hot chilis that make you sweat, and apparently, it’s one of the ways you can flush your system,' Ghattas said. 'It wakes you up. It flushes your system, maybe from whatever viruses are there.' Add to that a good old-fashioned case of adrenaline, and you’ve got the secret to Clinton’s success. 'I think it was the desire to do the job well. It’s what’s driven her for all these years. I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that she works hard, does the homework.' That travel will come to represent a major part of Clinton’s diplomatic legacy, says Ghattas. 'The impact of her travel, her relentless public diplomacy, was meant to reassert American leadership, to always be on the front page of papers everywhere, to improve the perception of America around the world.'”

‘The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power’ by Kim Ghattas - Steven R. Weisman: "By reputation, Hillary Rodham Clinton was a great secretary of state. She was indefatigable abroad, loyal to President Obama at home, eloquent and passionate in defining American values, and realistic in applying them to complex realities on the ground. Her approval ratings were sky-high. But the question remains: What did she actually accomplish in the State Department job? Kim Ghattas, the BBC’s State Department correspondent since 2008, has written an admiring book about Clinton that falls short of answering that question. 'The Secretary' endorses the view that, despite Clinton’s failure to achieve significant diplomatic breakthroughs, she dramatically elevated the United States’ standing around the world and reasserted American leadership through her forceful personality, her devotion to women’s and children’s issues, and her espousal of 'smart power.' The main weakness of this book is its acceptance of this narrative without presenting proof that it has made a real difference for American interests. Ghattas seems naively unaware that previous secretaries of state have also won praise for holding town meetings, doing interviews and engaging in public diplomacy on their trips. 'The Secretary' is much stronger in showing how Clinton gradually mastered a near-impossible job and overcame her initially uneasy relationship with Obama." See also John Brown, "Hillary, Foreign Policy, and the all-American Superbowl," Huffington Post

Agents of Universal Deceit: American Overkill - Ron Jacobs, CounterPunch: "In Justin Hart’s new bookEmpire of Ideas: The Origins of Public Diplomacy and the Transformation of U. S. Foreign PolicyAmerika Haus and many other aspects of


’s propaganda machine are addressed.This history of the origins of the current government propaganda machine in


covers the years 1936-1953 and presents the debates, uncertainties and ultimate use of that machine as an important tool in the proliferation and maintenance of US markets overseas.After watching Michelle Obama’s presentation of the award for Best Picture to a film praising the CIA from the White House, it’s somewhat difficult to believe that there was a time when politicians and government officials questioned the usefulness of propaganda in the battle for US hegemony.

Yet, that is exactly where Hart’s tale begins. In a rather interesting tale, he presents the beginnings of what is euphemistically called public diplomacy in Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy towards Latin America. It represented a new understanding that spreading US culture helped open markets overseas while simultaneously justifying the growing US Empire to the domestic audience, an audience which to that point was mostly isolationist in its outlook." [Note: your PDPBR compiler's review of this book will appear in the online journal American Diplomacy in April]. Image from article

Iran's 'Radio David' Tries to Woo Israelis - Shlomi Eldar, Al-Monitor Israel Pulse: "By definition, Voice of America is broadcast to developing nations 'to disseminate the message of democracy and liberty to citizens living in the shadow of evil regimes.' We recall the stubborn struggle waged by green organizations in Israel against the erection of Voice of America radio-transmission relay stations in the Arava Valley for public diplomacy and propaganda broadcasts to Iraqi citizens under then-president of Iraq Saddam Hussein, before the Second Gulf War led to his defeat. ... Could the BBC, Voice of America and Kol Yisrael in Persian be termed propaganda broadcasts? The answer to that is probably yes. True, there are differences in the types of content and level of truth and reliability, but the goal is the same: for information coming from outside to reach listeners inside the country, an audience that will then exert pressure on its leaders. ... It is estimated that Iran invests a billion dollars every year in what is called 'public diplomacy' on radio and television broadcasts as well as Internet sites. In addition to a daily Hebrew radio broadcast of about half an hour every evening, there are broadcasts in other languages as well, including Finnish, all to disseminate the tidings of the Islamic revolution."

Article about Iran's Hebrew-language Radio David includes discussion of the "goal" of international broadcasting- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: [Elliott comment:] "The most effective international broadcasting is not propaganda but an antidote to the state propaganda of the target country. This would be market based international broadcasting. ... International broadcasting gives members of the audience the information they need to form their own opinions about current affairs. The outcome of that might be to exert pressure on their leaders, or to try to bring about change in the target country. But that's up to the audience."

Report: Ethiopian police chief threatens to arrest VOA reporter -- in Washington - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

UN reporter questions VOA reporting about Somalia- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RFE/RL’s interim president expected to address Czech Helsinki Committee concerns with new personnel and policy decisions- BBGWatcher, "[N]ewly-appointed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) acting president Kevin Klose plans to announce soon personnel and policy decisions designed to address concerns raised by human rights groups, including the Czech Helsinki Committee and the Moscow Helsinki Watch group, which have sharply criticized the former RFE/RL administration. Sources told BBG Watch that Klose will make a number of announcements in the coming weeks designed to show that he takes these issues very seriously and plans to make a break from the past practices. The announcements may present a management team to deal with a myriad of longstanding issues at RFE/RL."

Battle of the RL Voices: Dubrovsky vs. Vinogradov - Richard H. Cummings, Cold War Radios: "For over 60 years, controversy has never been a stranger at Radio Liberty. For anyone who has been part of RL, it is no surprise that there were and apparently always will be controversy, rumors, and innuendo surrounding the radio station, its broadcasters, and its broadcasts.

RFE/RL’s broadcast journalist Ivan Tolstoi has recently discovered during his research into Radio Liberty’s history that there is controversy about the very first broadcast on March 1, 1953: who actually voiced the words, 'Listen! Listen! Today, a new radio station, Liberation, begins its broadcasts.'” Image from entry

Zhou Mingwei: Core of public diplomacy is communication- Lu Na, "China and other countries can realize co-prosperity and mutual development through public diplomacy, according toZhou Mingwei, a CPPCC National Committee member and President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in an exclusive interview with 'Public diplomacy, in many cases, is either realized by the media or supported by the media. The development of modern media, including online and mobile media, has provided huge space for the development of public diplomacy."

Public diplomacy is an extension of international communication, and vice versa,' Zhou replied to a question regarding the relation between public diplomacy and international communication, 'On the one hand, public diplomacy provides rich and fresh content to new technology-driven international communication. On the other hand, new technology-driven international communication provides ways of dispersion for public diplomacy.' The dispersion of Chinese culture is not only a matter of meeting the demands of the international community to know more about


, but also a process of communication and exchanges with other cultures. 'The core of public diplomacy is the communication between different cultures. One of the missionsof the CIPG is to introduce Chinese culture to the world through a variety of forms, including the Internet, mobile media and the traditional print media.' As for the question of how the CIPG could play a greater role in public diplomacy, Zhou responded, 'The role of cultural exchanges in public diplomacy is irreplaceable. The more acknowledgements we receive, the more solid exchanges and cooperation bases we will be able toshare with other countries.'" Zhou Mingwei image from article

Can you always trust the human map? - Lawrence Dietz, "Influencers of all stripes know that a key first step in formulating a plan is understanding who you are going to communicate with and what is the best way to reach them. For MISO, PSYOP and Public Diplomacy this means working at ground level probably with trusted citizens or others with a proven understanding of the AO to develop this sort of road map. While we all sing the praises of Open Sources and the information explosion of the Internet, this doesn’t mean that the right information will be available when you need it. Innovation and the ability to assimilate the lay of the land under austere conditions and time pressure remains a core skill of the influence profession."

(Video) Winning Hearts and Minds: American Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century

Yao Ming Details his Sporting "Chinese Dream" - Former NBA player Yao Ming said his dream is to propel sports culture as he showed up on Sunday to fulfil his new role as a member of China's top political advisory body. 'The Chinese dream starts from each person's own profession. My dream is that sports can become more than a way of winning our nation's glory, but a way to cultivate robust bodies and inspiring minds,' said Yao Ming. The 2.26-meter-tall star was newly elected as a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. ... Besides covering his familiar ground of basketball, Yao talked about his work in the form of an 'ambassador' as the vice chairman of the Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association. 'Soft power,' as people refer to public diplomacy, is an effective channel for expanding a nation's influence and enhancing cultural communications, Yao explained."

Cheap Pandora Bracelets UK she never had to - "'Ah Ying' she published an article in the 'People’s Daily' on many times as his pen name; She often talk about public diplomacy to be realistic to early to talk to more than speak the vernacular, she is the NPC first female Speaker – Fu Ying. As an outstanding diplomat, she was introduced to the world with their own emotional way. This time she is pragmatic new wind will be brought to the meeting of the National People’s Congress, being unique to women’s delicate new image of China to show the world."

Australia urged to fund football diplomacy - "The federal government is being urged to put more money into football diplomacy as Australia prepares for the 2015 Asian Cup. The football tournament, which will be hosted by Australia for the first time, is expected to attract 45,000 visitors and have a potential television reach of 2.5 billion viewers. The Lowy Institute for International Policy, in a paper released on Friday, says the tournament will present a big opportunity for Australian businesses to network with Asian investors and consumers. But to do so, key stakeholders should form a Football Asia Council to pool scarce resources and to provide support for networking opportunities. The institute recommends that the federal government allocate additional resources to Austrade for it to manage business networking events. 'The Asian Cup will present a significant opportunity for Australia to promote its image and national branding, as well as its goods and services, and strengthen networks in the region,' the report said. Football diplomacy was referred to in both a 2007 parliamentary inquiry on Australia's public diplomacy and in the federal government's Australia in the Asian Century White Paper."

Cultural diplomacy brings Vietnam closer to the world - "The Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO (UNESCO Vietnam) will organise more cultural activities this year to further heighten Vietnam’s position in the world arena. ... UNESCO Vietnam’s General Secretary Pham Cao Phong said the year 2013 will be a milestone year to promote Vietnam’s images to the world through a series of Vietnamese week events. ... He underlined the important role played by cultural diplomacy in furthering the country’s relationship with other countries."

Israel's envoy to Serbia: Israeli filmmakers only use Palestinian issue to win prizes abroad -- When Israeli ambassador Yossi Levy took to the stage, before an audience of 3,500, he praised the fact that Israeli cinema 'is doing splendidly at international festivals'. But after the cinema, behind closed doors, the ambassador was singing a different tune - "In a cable the ambassador sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' headquarters in Jerusalem, he explained how Serbian director Srdan Dragojevic and the three jury members – a Serb, a Frenchman and a Macedonian – asked him privately about the public debate in Israel surrounding the feature films and documentaries dealing with the seam line between art and politics. In response, Levy issued a scathing attack on Israeli filmmakers.

In the cable he reported his reply in great detail: 'I replied to them that in my personal opinion, the further Israeli films move away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the better they are, the more credible they are and the more artistic they are. Why? Because the concern with the conflict with the Palestinians distorts the cameras and breaks them. Between the European festivals and the Israeli cinema there is an unwritten agreement – wrapped of course in rustling cellophane of fine words and noble justifications – that the basic formula for cooperation is like this: an Israeli occupier who plays the role of the bad guy, versus an occupied Palestinian who arouses sympathy. This is the winning slogan and this is the entry ticket to invitations to a festival, to budgets, to funding, to publicity, to honor and to adulation.' Levy, who has apparently confused hasbara – so-called 'public diplomacy' – with art, continued: “This is the reason there are so many films dealing with great relish with the Palestinian victim – uprooting of trees, land theft, the sadness of the roadblocks, discrimination and so on. But there are very few Israeli films dealing with the Israeli victim." Image of Guy Davidi, the Isareli director of "5 Broken camera," in Bi'lin

Terrific lineup [scroll down page for item] - Daphne Burdman, Letter to the Editor, Jerusalem Post: "Israel does not need to present a panoramic 'education' program on the spectrum of Israeli opinions. It does need to rectify the damage to its international image rendered by the distortions, misrepresentations and double standards of Palestinian propaganda. Israel needs to rectify its abysmal lack of effective hasbara (public diplomacy) and government diplomacy. This diplomacy should be educating international opinion about the true nature of Palestinian jihadist ideology, which is openly aimed at the takeover and destruction of Jewish (Zionist) Israel and disseminated daily by the official media organs of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas."

Israeli-Iranian Singer Takes U.N. By Storm - Orly Halpern, Daily Beast: "Israeli Knesset discusses jailed spy Jonathan Pollard - Israel made mistakes in handling of the case, says public diplomacy minister; Lapid signs petition calling for Pollard's release. (Haaretz+)."

Repowering Greece: Repower Greece is the latest campaign setting out to win hearts and minds, but what must it do to make a real difference, and how do we get involved? - Michael Sweet, "18 months ago, Athens-based communications strategist Alexandros Costopoulos created Repower Greece - an international public diplomacy campaign that seeks to confront the world's negative perceptions of Greece and her people. Neos Kosmos shares a Q&A session with Costopoulos on his crusade to recast Greece's identity. What's at the heart of the Repower Greece campaign? It's rooted in our conviction that redefining Greece and restoring our credibility should not rely on a superficial re-branding or changing of mottos, but rather on clear messages and facts that justify our commitment to work diligently, forge solutions and move forward with a renewed result-oriented mind-set. What we're doing is crafting these messages out of the ingenuity and creativity that abound, as reflected in stories from key sectors of our economy, education and civil society. Through a variety of events and programs with academic institutions, community organisations and think-tanks across the world, these stories offer clear evidence that Greece is not the failures or special interests of the few, but rather the talents and achievements of the many."

Strong Neo-Ottoman Influence In The Balkans - Hellas Frappe, "The direction of the Turkish policy over the past decade is steadily moving on to a distinct Neo-Ottoman path, which is characterized in most respects by a re-introduction in the political and social life of the region, of long-forgotten norms and mentalities of the Ottoman Empire. ... In order for this long-term aim to be achieved, cultural and religious tactics are being promoted, financed and implemented in the Balkans, that aim to portray first and foremost the era of the Ottoman Empire as a 'Golden era', where various sophisticated forms of art and literature where achieved, under the protection and guidance of the Istanbul Sultan.

In essence a typical 'public diplomacy' mechanism is being implemented, which is firmly based on history and coupled with a heavy flow of financial donations and support to 'willing' organizations and individuals across the region." Image from entry, with caption: Ottoman house

"Non sono i due popoli a volere la guerra" - Claudio Monici, "La signora Irina Grigoryan, prima della guerra insegnava agli studenti di un liceo di Stepanakert, capoluogo del Nagorno Karabakh. Nel suo piccolo ufficio, appesa alla parete, ha una grande fotografia. Due mani, una bianca e una nera, che si stringono, e le parole in inglese che dicono: 'Diamo speranza alla pace'. La scuola, le lezioni, i libri, le discussioni con «i miei ragazzi» sono per lei memorie vive, come fosse un’interminabile primavera. Ma non è stato così. I bei giorni trascorsi con quei ragazzi sono stati dilanianti dai rintocchi funesti di una campana. 'L’ottanta per cento dei miei studenti, armeni e azeri, immaginatevi quattro classi, sono morti sotto i bombardamenti'. Ma anche due dei tre figli di questa madre e insegnante sono stati uccisi dalla guerra etnica degli anni Novanta fra Karabakh e Azerbajian. La signora Grigoryan, oggi, si circonda di altri 'figli', e sono 230. Imparano, cantano, recitano, giocano, disegnano. Sono i bambini dell’asilo che dirige. Lei li guarda e ci racconta di un’altra sua attività, la 'diplomazia pubblica', per riavvicinare le comunità armena e azera attraverso il dialogo dentro la società civile: 'Lo faccio per il loro futuro'. L’associazione, non governativa, si chiama Public diplomacy institute e ha la finalità di costruire una soluzione pacifica della guerra sospesa, attraverso il coinvolgendo diretto delle due popolazioni."

Taiwan mourns death of Venezuela's president - "Taiwan mourns the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. 'The Republic of China government expressed its condolences upon learning of Chavez's death,' said Calvin Ho, deputy director-general of the ministry's Public Diplomacy Coordination Council."

Revamping Diplomacy - Basil Venitis, "International politics is undergoing a fundamental shift, driven by power diffusion, technological advances, networks, and an empowered global public. The sum total of these changes means that addressing the world’s major foreign policy challenges will require soft power approaches. ... As the global threats facing Occident evolve, the importance and complexity of public diplomacy grow along with them. To improve the performance of Occidental public diplomacy, especially under the constraints of tightening budgets, Occidental governments must become more nimble and better organized. ... Modernizing diplomacy is a strategic imperative.

The widespread diffusion of technologies such as broadband Internet, social media and mobile phones requires updating policies and practices. Connection technologies now increase our impact across the range of diplomatic activities, from public diplomacy to commercial outreach, from disaster response to democracy promotion. I cannot understand why so many stupid governments waste their time and efforts signing myriad documents that are never applied." Image from entry

Comparisons and Connections- Naomi Leight, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[C]omparisons and connections as a vital component of the practice of public diplomacy."

Danish diplomat, EU envoy in Israel[Google translation from the Danish] - Ritzau, "The Danish topdiplomat Lars Faaborg-Andersen becomes september new ambassador to the EU in Tel Aviv in Israel. Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen appointed by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, as he has been in close contact with, since in 2008, he moved to Brussels as Danish representative in the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC). As PSC Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen, among other things helped to prepare the EU's monthly meetings of Foreign Ministers, including negotiating the EU's policy towards Israel. He sees himself his new job as a natural Following the work. 'One of the important things is to try to create greater synergy and coherence in their policies, so that we can better be more comprehensive, it is crucial for the impact we have, that we have a common line.' 'One might also through public diplomacy make it even more clear how much of interest, we have between the EU and Israel,' said Faaborg-Andersen."

“Basketball Diplomacy” or Dennis Rodman being….Dennis Rodman?- Andi Baldwin, Public Diplomacy student, Syracuse University, "Talk about a good way to create buzz about your new show before it premiers: bring Dennis Rodman to the DPRK and party all night with Kim Jong Un—and remind everyone that this will all be shown in an upcoming episode. ... Rodman may have tweeted that he was 'honored to represent the United States of America' during his trip, but the Obama Administration made it clear that he was not representing the country, at least not officially (shocking, I know).

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell’s comments from March 1st can be seen here. The group’s mission was ‘basketball diplomacy,’ but is that what we should call this? When a former NBA star meets up with an “axis of evil” dictator to watch a basketball game and get wasted? Diplomacy? We know Dennis Rodman made a new friend. As did Kim Jong Un. But is President Obama really going to pick up the phone and call Kim (the request relayed by Rodman upon his return)? Unlikely." Image from entry

Jay Wang named new CPD director - Chelsea Stone, "Associate Professor of Public Relations Jay Wang was named the new director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism on Wednesday. Wang, who has worked as a consultant in international corporate communication and public diplomacy, will replace journalism professor Philip Seib, who has held the position of director since 2009. In a statement to USC News, Wang said he will work to strengthen the center’s role in global politics and make the website into a comprehensive resource on public diplomacy. The center was created in 2003 to further the study and practice of global public diplomacy through research, publication programs, public events and professional training. It was established through a partnership between the Annenberg School and the School of International Relations at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Wang will assume the position August."

N.Y.U.’s Global Leader Is Tested by Faculty at Home - Kariel Kaminer, New York Times: "Embarking on an ambitious expansion at home, constructing a network of new campuses around the globe, wooing intellectual superstars and raising vast amounts of money, John Sexton of New York University is the very model of a modern university president — the leader of a large corporation, pushing for growth on every front. ... The Global Network University that he established — with 12 international study centers in places like Accra, Ghana; Buenos Aires; and Paris, as well as a full degree-granting campus in Abu Dhabi and another one set to open next year in Shanghai — has turned N.Y.U. into a worldwide brand and broadened its students’ horizons. At a State Department reception in 2011, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state, praised his 'vision to expand his university internationally while maintaining its reputation for excellence and academic freedom.'”

Qorvis's Matt J. Lauer Once Again Named as One of Washington's Most Influential People Under 40 - "Matt J. Lauer, (@MattJLauer), president of Qorvis GeoPolitical Solutions and a partner of Qorvis Communications, LLC was named by Washington Life magazine for the second time as one of the most influential people under the age of 40 in Washington, D.C. ... Prior to joining Qorvis, Lauer was the executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy at the Department of State. The commission, a bipartisan panel appointed by the president, analyzes and evaluates the U.S. government's international public relations capabilities."

Ireland Study Abroad Session - "Born and raised in Belfast N. Ireland, Lauren earned an honorary MA in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. During her undergraduate MA, she interned with US Congressman Walsh at part of the Washington-Ireland Program and studied at Sciences Po in Paris. In addition, she received a scholarship to study at the Centre for Comparative Conflict Studies at Singidunum University, Belgrade. As a Fulbright Scholar, Lauren is currently studying for an MA in Public Diplomacy at USC."


Obama in Israel: The start of a new era? The key to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in a clear process that will lead to an agreement on two states for two peoples- Ami Ayalon, A clear process that will lead to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is a precondition for the creation of a regional coalition that will address Iran's nuclear weapons program, and terrorism, violence, fundamentalism and nuclear proliferation throughout the Mideast. Rightly or wrongly, Obama's ability to jump-start the peace process has become a test of his leadership in the eyes of many Israelis, Palestinians and Arab moderates. Israel has won many battles to secure the Zionist dream of a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, but it seems to be losing the war. We need a two-state solution to fulfill this dream. Israel eagerly awaits Obama's visit.

Obama in Israel: Can he overcome low expectations? Obama's upcoming visit to Israel offers a chance to revive a relationship crucial to both countries- Yisrael Medad, Later this month, President Obama will visit Israel, a country intended by an act of international law to be the reconstituted Jewish national home. The visit will be highly charged, but at the same time, many Israelis have low expectations for what could come of it.

The president's protracted but unsuccessful attempts to stifle Iran's nuclear weapons program, his insistence on zealously challenging Israel's right to a united Jerusalem and his inability to pressure the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its obligations are among the chief reasons for the lack of excitement in Israel. Weakening Israel would endanger America as well. Image from article, with caption: A large Israeli flag flies near a small Jewish settlement of Ha Tamar, just outside the large Efrat settlement in the West Bank.

US postpones award for Egyptian woman over tweets - Bradley Klapper, Salon: The Obama administration is postponing an award for an Egyptian activist who rallied worldwide attention against forced “virginity tests” on female protesters because of anti-American and anti-Semitic comments discovered on her Twitter account. The State Department announced earlier this week that Samira Ibrahim would be among 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage award presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama on Friday. But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday the U.S. would hold off on awarding Ibrahim while officials investigate the tweets, which include support for attacks against U.S. diplomatic installations and praise for a terrorist assault against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria.

(Video) The Future Soft Power and Public Diplomacy

Digital Jihad: Inside Al-Qaeda's Social Networks-Deana Kjuka, Atlantic: Almost a decade after their emergence, Al-Qaeda's password-protected online forums continue to remain popular. Government officials in the U.S and elsewhere have spoken out against the message boards, which are used by jihadis to converse and distribute information, saying they serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists and have been used to incite violence against the West.

But some U.S. intelligence officials have argued against their removal, saying they rely on them for intelligence gathering. Image from article, with caption: Protesters wave a black jihadi flag as they demonstrate to denounce air strikes by U.S. drones, outside of the house of Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, on January 28, 2013.

Another Round of Sanctions on North Korea - Editorial, New York Times: China’s decision to join the United States in proposing tougher sanctions on North Korea is a welcome step. China and the United States should be working covertly to disrupt the North’s nuclear program, as the Americans and Israelis did with Iran’s. Washington could invest more in Radio Free Asia to broaden its reach so more information could reach the North’s people. Dealing with North Korea has never been easy, but neglect certainly will not help contain its nuclear and missile capabilities.

U.N. sanctions may play into North Korea propaganda: Kim regime perseveres despite punishments over nuke program - AP, Seven years of U.N. sanctions against North Korea have done nothing to derail Pyongyang’s drive for a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

They may have even bolstered the ruling Kim family by giving their propaganda maestros ammunition to whip up anti-U.S. sentiment and direct attention away from government failures. Image from article, with caption: Searching for opportunities: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un uses a pair of binoculars to look at South Korea as he inspects the Jangjae Islet Defense Detachment in South Hwanghae Province on Thursday.

Obama’s well-timed pivot to the Pacific - Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: President Obama’s determination to get U.S. troops out of the Middle East and Central Asia is much clearer than are his purposes in repositioning U.S. military assets into the Pacific. He seems at times to be a man fleeing a burning building looking for a calmer place to go. But his geographic “pivot” can work if Obama defines his goals realistically and pursues them with a combination of firmness and opportunism. By design or otherwise, he is locating pressure points and acquiring bargaining chips in Asia that can be useful in fashioning a more stable U.S. relationship with China.

Kissinger at the Council on Foreign Relations - Peggy Noonan's Blog: Kissinger on the Obama administration’s foreign policy: “They are skillful in handling tactical aspects of situations.” But “they have not been able to put this together into a strategic overview of where we’re going.” “I don’t think they’re disliked but they’re not fully trusted anywhere. Nobody knows where they’re going.”

America’s Global Role - Stuart Gottlieb, Letter to the Editor, New York Times: In “Come Home, America” (Op-Ed, March 5), Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman argues that it is time to draw


back from the world to allow “other players” to share the burdens (and costs) of maintaining global stability. This, she says, would allow a “return to global normalcy.” History says otherwise. Like


in the 19th century,


has been the world’s pivotal global power since the early 20th century. The rise of global challengers to British hegemony was a catalyst for World War I. And each of


’s attempts to reduce its global role in the 20th century was met not with increasing good will and burden-sharing, but acute global threats in the form of the Axis powers in the 1930s, Stalin’s

Soviet Union

in the late 1940s and Al Qaeda in the 1990s. Yes, sustaining global leadership incurs costs. But these costs have to be measured against the likely greater costs down the line from a world convinced that


no longer has the wherewithal to lead in the cause of global peace and security.

Ten years after the invasion, did we win the Iraq war? - Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post: A challenge facing historians of the Iraq war, which began 10 years ago this month, will be to gauge what senior members of George W. Bush’s inner circle were actually trying to accomplish. The justifications offered for the invasion were all over the place, including supposed weapons of mass destruction, claims that Saddam Hussein had collaborated with al-Qaeda and visions of democracy throughout the Arab world.

Eventually, only this last — Bush’s Freedom Agenda — remained. Yet, as the war dragged on, expectations of transforming the Middle East gave way to more modest definitions of success. When it came to advancing the cause of liberty, the Bush administration set out to build a cathedral. In the end, the Obama administration declared itself content with a shaky two-car garage.In what has become one of the most momentous stories of the 21st century, the inhabitants of the Islamic world are asserting the prerogative of determining their own destinies. Intent on doing things their way, they are increasingly intolerant of foreign interference. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington sought to revalidate an altogether different prerogative, one pioneered by Britain: an entitlement to meddle. Image from article

The Latest Front in a Long War- Chester A. Crocker and Ellen Laipson, New York Times: Today Mali needs the sustained support of African and Western partners. The victory there must be carefully sustained using all the political, diplomatic and economic tools available. A counterterrorism strategy will not succeed in a political vacuum.

Splendid China: The Propaganda Theme Park for Sinicization - James Griffiths, You can never underestimate the arrogance of the imperialist. Just as the English convinced themselves that their cannons were having a civilicing effect on their colonies,


is confident that its presence in the lives of the people of


and Xinjiang is ultimately for the best.


and Xinjiang, the most westerly regions of the country, are the only places where the 90 percent Han Chinese majority aren't the dominant ethnic group. The Communist Part of China (CPC) views the western provinces as integral and indivisible parts of


but also actively pursues a policy of sinicization (making it more like


, essentially), as if forcing a region to adopt foreign customs will somehow help them come round to the idea of completely changing their lifestyle. You might balk at Chinese government's talk of a need to develop the "backward" Chinese Wild West, but the sinicization project has drastically improved the quality of life for most people in Xinjiang and


. Life expectancy in pre-1951


was an insane 36 years,it's now over 65. And in Xinjiang, there's been a marked upturn for the Turkic Muslim majority. In 2010 alone, the Chinese government invested

over 11 billion yuan(about 1.8 billion dollars) in improving infrastructure and schooling in Xinjiang. In fact, so much money is spent on improving the areas that many Han Chinese resent what they see as an unfair advantage for the ethnic minority groups. Life is considerably tougher for rural Chinese peasants than those in


or Xinjiang, but nobody in


is going to start listening to them any time soon. Guess what, though? Yep, those ungrateful bastards in the conquered West don’t quite see it that way. The dominant narrative in the western provinces—put forward by the Dalai Lama, Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, and hundreds of burning monks—is that the PRC are invaders and colonizers. Understandable, really, considering the PRC’s attempts to repress both Buddhist and Islamic religious expression in the region, as well as replacing local languages with Mandarin Chinese. Image from article, with caption: The author having wine fed to him at Splendid China.

(Video) International Broadcasting as Public Diplomacy, Part 1

New Lei Feng Propaganda Movie a Flop at the Box Office- A young soldier who died at the age of 21. Lei Feng is a figure the Chinese Communist Party has hailed as an exemplary citizen—a humble and selfless man that embodied morality and the human spirit. So it took propaganda authorities by surprise when a film premier on Monday memorializing “Lei Feng Day” failed to generate even a single ticket sale in some cities.

Image from article, with caption: Lei Feng, a soldier of a transportation unit of the Poeple's Liberation Army, polishes his truck during his leisure time in a military camp.Seealso.

China is Entering a New Age of Propaganda - Until China accepts the fact that massive intrusions into US system is originating from China into US corporate systems, their rhetoric denying PLA troops are engaged in cyber activities against the US are laughable and moot.

Malaysia's U.S. Propaganda: Kuala Lumpur paid American conservative journalists to smear an opposition leader - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It's not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think-tankers to write favorable coverage. The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.

“Argo” doesn’t deserve the Oscar: Ben Affleck's Oscar frontrunner is clever, but it distorts painful history into a cheesy propaganda thriller - Andrew O'Hehrir, Salon: Being a non-great film that wins Oscars is hardly a crime; it’s barely a news event. But it’s the way that “Argo’s” not great that bugs me. In a year full of big, ungainly, ambitious movies that wrestle with questions of history, morality and philosophy, “Argo” is less than the sum of its parts. It has repeatedly been praised for being “just a movie,” in obvious contradistinction to the complicated and problematic truth-telling goals of “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” – but what is that supposed to mean? It means that Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio have taken a minor but intriguing historical episode drawn from the Iranian hostage crisis and rendered it into a reassuring and familiar action-adventure flick about American heroism and, not coincidentally, the inspiring patriotism of the apparently cynical bastards in the film industry.

If Affleck captures one of the darker and more chaotic periods of recent history in meticulous detail – and his replication of the revolutionary streets of Tehran, and the seizure of the United States embassy, is genuinely impressive – I would argue that’s all elaborate window dressing for a propaganda fable. Image from article

Hollywood History: CIA Sponsored “Zero Dark Thirty”, Oscar for “Best Propaganda Picture” - One of the most pervasive trends in 21st century western culture has become somewhat of an obsession in America. It’s called “Hollywood history”, where the corporate studio machines in Los Angeles spend hundreds of millions of dollars in order to craft and precisely tailor historical events to suit the prevailing political paradigm. "Hollywood history" is very much in fashion these days. From Linclon to Dubya, and from Blackhawk Down to The Iron Lady, they constitute a significant portion of today’s major releases. There’s only one problem however, with tailoring a story to fit neatly into a prevailing political paradigm… and over the last 100 years, the Germans and the Soviets did this too – with devastating effect, but back then we just called it propaganda.

No film embodies the Hollywood historical treatment more than the much celebrated cinema release of Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and one of the favourites to grab an armful of Academy Awards this weekend in LA including Best Picture, Bigelow for best director, Mark Boal for best screenplay, and Jessica Chastain for Best Actress. Never before in the history of cinema has there been such a break-neck rush to complete and release a motion picture so soon after the said event, to serialise the legendary “Hunt for Bin Laden”, and “the greatest manhunt in history” by a gallant Seal Team 6, ending in the siege of the terror kingpin’s alleged place of abode – a compound located in Abbotabad, Pakistan. Hitler’s Reich relied on talent filmmakers like Leni Riefenstahl, to write the government’s version of Nazi history. If Pentagon propaganda, or bolstering President Obama’s political trophy were the motives, then one could compare this film’s creators to similarly well-paid cinematic forebears like Albert Speer, or Leni Riefenstahl. Image from entry

Hollywood-Style History - Stephen Lendman, Hollywood’s complicity with Washington is longstanding. Movie moguls are duplicitous. The only thing they like better than good films are good deals. Washington’s requests are prioritized. Scripts feature pro-Western propaganda. “Operation Hollywood” explains. Daily Variety/Hollywood Reporter David Robb’s book discussed Hollywood’s longstanding relationship with the Pentagon.

It focuses on ones related to war. It chooses ones it wants. It has final say on content and characters. It makes no secret of its purpose. It wants pro-Western propaganda featured. Image from

The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust: Saturday marks 70 years since a daring, controversial ‘propaganda pageant’ demanded US action against the genocide- Claiming “frustration over American policy and outrage at


’s fear of offending its European markets,” Ben Hecht, the first celebrity to publicize the Holocaust. spent one month scripting a


extravaganza to expose the Holocaust and urge rescue action. Evoking the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk’s “They shall never die” prophecy, Hecht called his show We Will Never Die. Featuring hundreds of performers and a 50-piece NBC orchestra, the production’s six-city tour was


’s first political protest en masse. Composer Kurt Weill crafted the score and engaged stars like Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and Stella Adler to appear in the Billy Rose-directed “propaganda pageant.” Fifty elderly rabbis rescued from


took the stage to chant the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer as the finale. “These are the two million Jewish dead of


today,” a narrator said as the show opened. “The four million left to kill are being killed, according to plan. When the time comes to make the peace, they will have been done to death.” Dwarfed by a set Cecil B. DeMille would envy, celebrities spoke as “voices for the voiceless” next to ghost-like children repeating, “Remember us.”

Two 40-foot-tall tablets emblazoned with the Ten Commandments in Hebrew framed the musical dramatization of Jewish history and the ongoing massacre. The We Will Never Die performance in Washington, DC, on April 12 1943was attended by 300 legislators, six Supreme Court justices and First Lady Eleanore Roosevelt. To motivate the prestigious audience members, Hecht added specific rescue appeals throughout the show. As the production toured the country, political efforts to alleviate the plight of European Jewry failed. Countries refused to accept Jewish refugees at theBermuda Conference, and


would not even discuss letting Jews into


. Despite its short run, We Will Never Die helped create a “boiling pot” atmosphere, leading to President Roosevelt’s creation of the War Refugee Board in January 1944. During fifteen months of operation, the Board took concrete steps to lessen the pace of genocide, rescuing as many as 200,000 Jews. We Will Never Die had been seen live by 100,000 people, and by several million others on NBC broadcasts. Hecht was never satisfied with his project or the results, calling them inconsequential. Image from article, with caption: The program cover for We Will Never Die brought a Hollywood flair to real-life events.

Attorney General: Obama Can't Order Drone Attack on Americans on US Soil - Adam Serwer, The White House has finally clarified that President Barack Obama cannot order a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil. See also.

Drones: A weapon that needs a holster - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Drones do not capture; they kill. That’s why it’s so important to have clear rules. Drones should be a weapon of last resort.


Poll: Majority of Americans Opposed to Being Killed by Drone - Andy Borowitz, In a possible setback for the Administration’s controversial drone policy, a new poll conducted by the University of Minnesota shows that a broad majority of Americans are opposed to being killed by a drone strike on U.S. soil.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points, showed that ninety-seven per cent of those surveyed “strongly agreed” with the statement, “I personally do not want to be killed by a drone,” with three per cent responding, “Don’t know/No opinion.” Image from entry

George W. Bush’s painting teacher on his artistic potential - Amy Argetsinger, Washington Post: “He has such a passion for painting. It’s amazing. He’s going to go down in the history books as a great artist.” – Bonnie Flood, a Cumming, Ga., art instructor who spent a month teaching George W. Bush how to paint. Flood told Atlanta’s Fox 5 that she worked for six hours a day with the former president and one of his sisters-in-law, and that while his original focus was canine art (“I think he said he’s painted 50 dogs”), she convinced him to give landscape painting a try. “He picked it up so quick. It just was amazing, really."


Richard III propaganda - Charles Gauci, Sannat, "Being a member of the Richard III Society ... I have always believed that Richard did not murder the princes in the Tower as Tudor propaganda would have us believe. If he had done so, it would not have helped his claim to the throne at all because there was still his nephew, Warwick, son of his elder brother Clarence, who had been executed by Edward IV. Not only did Richard not murder Warwick but he initially named him as his heir. Warwick was later imprisoned in the Tower by the usurper, Henry Tudor, later Henry VII. Henry then had him executed, thus removing a major obstruction to his tenuous claim. History is always written by the victors!"

(Video) Media as Global Diplomat: Public Diplomacy 2.0: Rethinking Official Media


1. Transformational Public Diplomacy
(Council on Foreign Relations)
2. Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II
(Library of Congress)
3. Kings and Slaves: Diplomacy, Sovereignty, and Black Subjectivity in the Early Modern World
(Brown University)
4. Films of State Conference - Panel 4: Infrastructure of Public Diplomacy
(US National Archives)
5. President John F. Kennedy's "Peace Speech"
6. The Evolution of Modern Diplomacy
(Kelley International)
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