“All this leaves the Pentagon chief in the unusual position of arguing for greater funding for the State Department, which was sidelined under Rumsfeld.” – Anna Mulrine writing about Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in US News & World Report. This sentence, the first of the last paragraph goes directly to the of America’s public diplomacy/strategic communication problem: a lack of leadership at State that not only sidelines the Department but creates a spiral to the bottom by undermining Congressional confidence (and thus limiting funding) and the perceived utility of the Department across the Administration. Secretary of State Rice has so marginalized herself in these debates that she is an implied problem better left undisturbed and unmentioned.

SIGMA has a website: “SIGMA is a new concept in public service "think tanks"– we are a voluntary association of speculative writers who have spent our careers exploring the future. We offer that experience and expertise pro bono to the government for the good of the nation.” Full disclosure: I’m a friend of SIGMA.

“A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.” – Novosti. The quoted “political analyst” is Professor Igor Panarin, “a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.”

“…armed groups attack humanitarians to prevent them from winning the minds and wills of populations.” Chris Albon at War and Health. Public diplomacy is not just about informing and discussing with people the alternatives but building an alternative future. Foreign Aid, reconstruction and stabilization or core efforts of the struggle for minds and wills. It is worthwhile to remember that the Marshall Plan, the mother of all reconstruction and stabilization programs, was very much a denial of sanctuary program in the struggle for minds and wills. It is also worthwhile to know that the enemy’s response to that program caused Smith-Mundt to be passed.

Google hosts millions of Time photos here.

Scripting Jihad: pulling back the curtain and exposing uncertainty and manipulation from MSNBC (h/t JMW)