• Public Diplomacy

    Millions not a couple of dozen Americans “sucked into the vacuum”

    ABC’s Nightline had an NSA whistleblower alleging illegal spying (the link has the Nightline video) could have eavesdropped on millions of Americans. As the source for the NY Times article blowing the cover of the operation (thoughts and implications here), he is apparently the target of rage by the Administration on the leaking of the program. The damage to domestic and foreign credibility may be severe, although not to those who feel "no holds barred" is the name of the game. "Do as we say, not as we do" is not a good motto for a role model. Meanwhile, Opinio Juris notes a number of "prominent law scholars and attorneys"…

  • Public Diplomacy

    The Spivak Conspiracy

    Hmmm… a public relations campaign that could easily explode. The foreign press, if they picked up on this or will pick on similar cases in the future, will distort and blow up the misguided and foolish attempts to boost an exec’s year-end bonus. In light of the expanding Abramoff scandal today is a story a few months old called the Spivak Conspiracy: A pharmaceutical consultant secretly commissions a novel about terrorists poisoning Americans with medicine from Canada, then backs out and inadvertently spawns a thriller pillorying his own industry. This is no pulp-fiction farce. Call it bookgate, an impossible-to-make-up public-relations disaster now dogging the pharmaceutical industry. Its real-life cast includes…

  • Public Diplomacy

    Media Influence and Misinformation

    An example of how disinformation becomes reality from the WashingtonPost. A White House official said last night the administration was confident that press reports changed bin Laden’s behavior. CIA spokesman Tom Crispell declined to comment, saying the question involves intelligence sources and methods. The article demonstrates how OBL’s use of a cell / satellite phone was in the public domain before 9/11 and before the "press blew the lid".

  • Public Diplomacy

    Britain: imperial nostalgia

    Link: Britain: imperial nostalgia. Britain not only conveniently still forgets the crimes of its imperial past, but it has also again begun to romanticise its colonial achievements and declare them a proper source of pride. Without spending too much time on various Western — I am thinking of French, German, Belgian, Dutch, and British here — protestors disengaged the present from the past, I would like to remind them of Africa, the ‘Middle East’, and their involvement then and today.

  • Africa,  China,  Public Diplomacy

    Chinese and the Horn of Africa

    News from the Horn of Africa is diverse and found along many paths. To start, US troops in the Ogaden area rescued two abused and endangered cheetah cubs late last month (Nov 2005) while the Taipei Times is reporting the Chinese navy is "flexing its soft power" as part of an "assertive foreign policy…connecting Chinese seaports with the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Its strategy: to build up sea power, measured in ships, bases and alliances. Energizing a populace accustomed to thinking of China as a land power is one crucial element of Beijing’s new maritime diplomacy." The sea-based public diplomacy is integral to Chinese expansion in the…

  • Africa,  China,  Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    Chinese Public Diplomacy via UN Peacekeeping

    The Chinese state media has highlighted an interesting point as part of their growing public diplomacy campaign to win the hearts and minds of the world, and not least of the impovrished and non-G8 that have important resources China needs. In the last six months, China has had generally 1,000 troops or police on United Nations peacekeeping missions. A Chinese scholar said Tuesday that China has sent out more than 3,000 troops and policemen to United Nations peacekeeping missions since the late 1980s, reflecting its firm support of the UN’s role in maintaining world peace and security.  "China has contributed the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping operations among…

  • Africa,  Public Diplomacy

    America’s “quiet diplomacy” in Somalia

    Interesting addition to the Somalia & USG story and at AllAfrica.com: Somalia is a priority for the U.S. State Department, which is engaged in "quiet diplomacy" to help buttress its fragile transitional government, a key state department leader said Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota. Also, Horn of Africa "security briefing" from a regional news source.

  • Private Military Companies,  Public Diplomacy

    Public Diplomacy by Proxy

    The Los Angeles Times story on Private Security "Guards" (companies) in Iraq largely stems from the recent AEGIS "trophy video", but is largely an emotional reaction to larger and deeper issues that is barely touches on. Perhaps that is the limitation of the mainstream media, especially for an above the fold story like this one, but is the door into the larger debate over appropriateness and inappropriateness of private military forces. A recent public opinion poll shows an increasing concern that Washington is too quick to use a military response, including private security companies that augment "real" military force, to foreign policy challenges in lieu of soft power alternatives. Falling…

  • Public Diplomacy

    When having a secret meeting, keep it a secret

    When conducting secret negotiations, make sure both sides are entirely clear about what they can disclosure. Do the arm twisting up front. Then again, maybe it was simply posturing on the other side but what could he gain by backtracking? From UPI: Paracha Changes Story on Hughes Meeting: Paracha initially confirmed that he met last Friday with U.S. State Department Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes and U.S. military officials at Islamabad’s Serena Hotel, according to GEO Pakistan News. The Daily Times reported that following a telephone call from "American officials in Islamabad," Paracha subsequently changed his account of what transpired and said, "I met U.S. businessmen…