Foreign Policy News and Commentary Update October 12, 2008
AN OPEN LETTER TO [UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS] KAREN HUGHES: YOUR DUTY IS TO DEFEND AMERICA'S REPUTATION IN THE WORLD. TO DO SO, YOU MUST PERSUADE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO RENOUNCE ITS ABHORRENT AND HYPOCRITICAL POLICY ON TORTURE - SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL (SALON, OCTOBER 11): .
DIPLOMATIC LESSONS FROM CHINA - PRICE FLOYD AND NIRAV PATEL (BOSTON GLOBE, OCTOBER 12): President Bush's "go it alone" foreign policy continues to engender ill will toward the United States. Meanwhile, Beijing has taken this opportunity to develop a masterful public diplomacy strategy that capitalizes on America's public diplomacy shortcomings. While Washington anoints ice skater Michelle Kwan and baseball legend Cal Ripken as public diplomacy emissaries, China is actively signing free trade agreements and extending development assistance to dozens of countries around the world.http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/10/12/diplomatic_lessons_from_china?mode=PF
SHADES OF HOOVER WILLIAM M. ARKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, OCTOBER 10): http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2007/10/post_18.html
PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS: PRIVATIZING TERROR, OUTSOURCING DIPLOMACY -- WAJAHAT ALI INTERVIEWS PETER WARREN SINGER OF THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE ON THE TURMOIL CAUSED BY BLACKWATER AND OTHER PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS FUNCTIONING IN IRAQ (ALT.MUSLIM, OCTOBER 10): http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2607/
HOW TO COPE WITH GLOBAL JIHAD - ARIEL COHEN (REAL CLEAR POLITICS, OCTOBER 12): Israeli efforts to engage in strategic information operations were and remain virtually nonexistent. The budget of Al Manar is greater than the entire Israeli foreign ministry public diplomacy (hasbara) budget. The architect of this failing public diplomacy/strategic information policy under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Raanan Gissin, has admitted himself that Jerusalem was particularly lacking on this battlefield. Winning hearts and minds is and will remain the greatest challenge for Israel -- and the West -- in the forthcoming wars against the jihadis.
SYRIA MAKE UP YOUR FREEKING MIND !!!! (YID WITH LID, OCTOBER 10): "Read this report from the NY Crimes below: Syria Tells Journalists Israeli Raid Did Not Occur - Hugh Naylor: 'Osama Durrah, a Ph.D. student at the Arab-European University in Syria, said ... 'Syria has valid claims to be made, like reclaiming the Golan Heights from Israel; it just doesn't have the public diplomacy skills to match the Israelis.'
GERMANY'S AFGHANISTAN CONUNDRUM: PUBLIC OPINION HAS TURNED AGAINST THE WAR - ULF GARTZKE (DAILY STANDARD, OCTOBER 12): If Germany's continued military presence in Afghanistan were to be seen as the result of trying to conform to American pressures, the public diplomacy case for sustaining the German mission there would certainly be lost at the hands of left-wing demagogues waiting to play the potent card of latent anti-Americanism. Right now, there's already a widespread perception in Germany that the Bundeswehr's Afghan deployment is, above all, part of President Bush's "global war on terror," aka the neocon crusade.
PROPAGANDA BY DEED - ROB (STEPH'S BLOG: VIVA LA REVOLUCIÓN, OCTOBER 11): There is no such thing as a free speech -- the State hold a monopoly on propaganda -- the only means to communicate is through violence -- propaganda by deed. Propaganda by deed is communication through action not words.
Karen Hughes and Her 'Diplomacy of Deeds' John Brown (Common Dreams, April 9, 2007)
BUSH SAYS POSSIBLE US IRAN ATTACK 'EMPTY PROPAGANDA' - JOHN BYRNE AND DAVID EDWARDS (RAW STORY, OCTOBER 7)
CUT IRAN DEMOCRACY FUNDING, GROUPS TELL U.S.: IRANIAN AMERICANS, OTHERS SAY PROGRAM HAS BACKFIRED - ROBIN WRIGHT (WASHINGTON POST, OCTOBER 11): More than two dozen Iranian American and human rights groups have launched an appeal to Congress to reduce or eliminate new financial support of up to $75 million aimed at promoting democracy inside Iran.
CHINA IS THE NEW AMERICA - PAUL D. KRETKOWSKI (BEACON, OCTOBER 11): The idea of China as a symbol of potential prosperity is taking hold, seeping into the consciousness of ordinary Africans and occupying a place that the United States, and to some extent European countries, once claimed.
TERROR AND WORLD HUNGER: GAMES INDUSTRY DISCOVERS GITMO, HUNGER AND OTHER SERIOUS ISSUES - HILMAR SCHMUNDT (SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL, OCTOBER 8): A new breed of computer games -- so-called "serious games" -- has been developed to help interest and educate young people about the world's political conflicts. "Darfur is Dying," for example, invites players to imagine themselves as refugees in western Sudan forced to hide from the brutal Janjaweed militias. The game was developed at the University of Southern California with the support of firms such as Reebok and MTV. "When I conduct a teach-in on Second Life, I'm able to show films, present documentaries and let eyewitnesses speak-- and I reach people all over the world," says the well-known and controversial Mark Denbeaux, 64, a law professor at Seton Hall University, in New Jersey. He also works as a lawyer for Guantánamo prisoners.
ATTACKS INCREASE IN IRAQ: MILITANTS RECRUIT DISPLACED YOUNG MEN - JUAN COLE (INFORMED COMMENT: THOUGHTS ON THE MIDDLE EAST, HISTORY, AND RELIGION, OCTOBER 11): The number of attacks in Iraq has increased in recent days, frustrating US military commanders who were hoping a corner had been turned and that violence would steadily be reduced.
NO, THE US IS NOT WINNING IN ANBAR WILLIAM S. LIND (ANTIWAR.COM, OCTOBER 11): No, we are not winning in Iraq. The only meaningful definition of "winning" is seeing the re-emergence of a real Iraqi state, and by that standard we are no closer to victory than we ever were.
WAR STORIES: WHAT CAN WE STILL ACHIEVE IN IRAQ? RECONCILIATION'S OFF THE TABLE, BUT THERE ARE OTHER DECENT WAYS OUT - FRED KAPLAN (SLATE, OCTOBER 10): To keep the sectarian violence from spreading beyond Iraq's borders, and possibly to keep it from doing too much harm within, the United States has no choice but to embark on a campaign of creative regional diplomacy involving all the states of the region.
SCAPEGOATING BLACKWATER: US SOLDIERS COMMIT WAR CRIMES AT ONE-NINTH THE PRICE ? TED RALL (TEDRALL.COM, OCTOBER 10/COMMON DREAMS): It isn't just Blackwater. Official U.S. soldiers are no less stupid or vicious or trigger-happy than their private counterparts.
A CHANGING IRAQ: NEWFOUND OPTIMISM - VICTOR DAVIS HANSON (NATIONAL REVIEW, OCTOBER 11): Over the last 90 days, there has been newfound optimism, as Iraqis are at last stepping forward to help Americans secure their country. Lost in all this confusion over Iraq is the fact that about 160,000 gifted American soldiers are trying to help rebuild an entire civilization socially, politically and economically -- and defeat killers in their midst who will murder far beyond Iraq if not stopped.
THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRAQ WAR RESOLUTION: WHY WE CAN?T FORGIVE OR FORGET - STEPHEN ZUNES (COMMON DREAMS, OCTOBER 11): Support for the 2002 Iraq war resolution is not something that can simply be forgiven and forgotten.
WHO LOST TURKEY?? JUAN COLE (INFORMED COMMENT: THOUGHTS ON THE MIDDLE EAST, HISTORY, AND RELIGION, OCTOBER 12): Turkey is almost everything the U.S. could have asked for in the Middle East. But the Bush administration has, during the past five years, increasingly thrown away this asset, and now is in danger of losing a close and valued ally altogether. No dispassionate observer could avoid the conclusion that the Congressional vote condemning Turkey came at a most inopportune time for US-Turkish diplomacy.
NO LEGITIMATE JUSTIFICATION FOR WAR WITH IRAN SCOTT RITTER (BRITANNICA BLOG, OCTOBER 10/COMMON DREAMS)
SURGE PROTECTORS: THE MIXED MOTIVES BEHIND THE FREEDOM's WATCH AD CAMPAIGN - PHILIP WEISS (AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, OCTOBER 8): Since 9/11, supporters of Israel have managed to convince themselves and the Bush administration that the United States is in the same war against terror as Israel is. This conviction has proved disastrous for the U.S., but it draws on a deeply imbedded understanding in the Jewish community of the intransigence of the Arab world.
LIEBERMAN WARNS AGAINST RAISING 'CORE ISSUES' AT ANNAPOLIS PARLEY - JPOST STAFF AND AP (JERUSALEM POST, OCTOBER 11): A decision to place core issues at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- including final borders, right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the status of Jerusalem -- on the agenda of a US-sponsored Middle East parley in Annapolis could break up the government, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday. "Right now, the nations of the world need to concentrate most on security and economic issues in the Middle East," Lieberman told Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair during a meeting.
SELLING OUT ISRAEL BY BITS - CAL THOMAS (WASHINGTON TIMES, OCTOBER 12): Name one concession Israel has made in recent years that has been reciprocated by its sworn enemies. This is not a trick question. There are none. That's why next month's announced "Middle East Summit" in Annapolis should be viewed as one more installment payment in selling out Israel and U.S. interests in the Middle East.
GETTING SYRIA INSIDE THE TENT EDITORIAL (BOSTON GLOBE, OCTOBER 12): In refusing to change course on the diplomatic tracks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been pursuing in Northeast Asia and the Middle East, Bush appears to be heeding pragmatic skeptics in his administration such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- who, as a former director of CIA, may be expected to know how to evaluate ambiguous intelligence data.
THAW MISSION TO MOSCOW RICHARD LUGAR (WASHINGTON TIMES, OCTOBER 12): Until now, the U.S. proposal for a limited, regional missile defense system in Central Europe, directed at rogue states, has sparked anger in Russia and anxiety among many Europeans. However, bold and enlightened leaders can turn this into productive discussions over a more global approach to defenses against nuclear attacks. (Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, is ranking member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.)
RELEASE THE TORTURE MEMOS EDITORIAL (BOSTON GLOBE, OCTOBER 11): The Bush administration let Congress pass a law setting standards for interrogations that the administration had already decided -- in secret -- that it could ignore.
ARMED DEMOCRACY: THE BATTLES WITHIN THE WAR ON TERROR [REVIEW OF THE TERROR PRESIDENCY: LAW AND JUDGMENT INSIDE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION BY JACK GOLDSMITH] - TERRY EASTLAND (WEEKLY STANDARD, OCTOBER 15): Surely we are fortunate that, whatever else may be said about George W. Bush's war presidency, on his watch, so far at least, the country has not seen a repeat of 9/11.
THE IMPERIAL FALLACY: IS THE UNITED STATES AN EMPIRE, A HEGEMON, OR WHAT? AND WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE IDEA OF THE U.S. AS AN EXEMPLARY LIBERAL DEMOCRACY? ? MICHAEL LIND (AMERICAN PROSPECT, OCTOBER 10): If liberal internationalism is to be restored as the basis of U.S. foreign policy, then the first step must be to insist that liberal internationalism is not simply another kind of imperialism and that the United States is not simply another empire.
A BANG OR A WHIMPER - DAN FROOMKIN (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, OCTOBER 10): Bush appears to be facing an ever-deepening rift among his chief advisers, with Cheney and his loyalists advocating a more confrontational response to international challenges and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice marshalling support for diplomacy. Given how trigger-happy Cheney appears to be, and how little credibility this White House has on the international stage, Bush essentially faces the choice of whether to end his tenure with a bang or a whimper.