Public diplomacy expectations by Helle Dale in The Washington Times

What is specifically needed is a new U.S. Agency for Strategic Communication under the guidance of a director of strategic communications. Its director should have the confidence and trust of the president, though maybe not necessarily at cabinet level, and his responsibility would be to coordinate the informational activities of the entire U.S. government, including the vast resources currently commanded by the Pentagon. He would also be responsible for formulating a much-needed comprehensive new communications strategy that would address the activities of U.S. public affairs, public diplomacy, international broadcasting and military information operations.

The State Department itself is in dire need of reform, and should lose an array of public diplomacy activities and assets, which it has been wasting. It should focus more narrowly on traditional diplomacy in state-to-state and multilateral settings. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, where most of the new thinking on this topic has taken place, could be called in to coordinate activities through its combatant command structures, which are the prime examples currently of U.S interagency coordination directed at different regions of the world.

Iranians Flood VOA with Messages for Obama – VOA press release

Iranians are flooding President-elect Barack Obama with personal messages on a special Persian-language website the Voice of America (VOA) created for people to express their views.

VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) has received hundreds of messages on topics ranging from U.S.-Iranian relations to access to student visas since it invited its audience last week to write to Obama at the website The messages, posted on the site, will eventually be transmitted to the president-elect’s transition office.

Dictators Prefer Botnets –

In the African nation of Mauritania, the military dictatorship has used Cyber War techniques to shut down two opposition web sites that provide the most information on what is going on inside the country. The generals apparently hired several botnets … to smother the anti-dictatorship websites with phony visitors (a "DDOS attack").

Should Arabs Use Violence Against the U.S.? – MEMRI

Jordanian university lecturer Dr. Ibrahim ‘Alloush: I’d like to salute whoever conducts resistance against the Zionist-American hegemony in this world – whether by means of politics or by means of weapons. …

Kuwaiti journalist Sami Al-Nisf: This is the same formula of Stalin, Hitler, Kim Il-Sung, Qaddafi, Saddam, and so on. They all used bombastic words, all had ‘deep throats,’ but at the end of the day – and that’s the greatest mistake – one should look at the figures, rather than the words. These people destroy their countries.

 HARDtalk interview with former US National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski from 14 October.