An editorial in The Free Press Journal argues that the U.S.’s use of hard power in Iraq and Afghanistan devalued its potency, leaving only soft power tools as a means of persuasion.
But Afghanistan and Iraq are in tatters because of US intervention. The pivot to Asia is turning out to be a clumsy balancing act. Israelis build homes with impunity on Arab land while the Americans look the other way. Neither Obama nor his Secretary of State John Kerry appears to have any influence with either side in Syria’s horrendous two-year civil war which now extends to the Kurdish-majority north-east. For all their bluster, the Americans are unable to persuade Iran to abandon its unstated ambition of possessing nuclear weapons. The fate of America’s most pampered Asian protégés – Syngham Rhee of South Korea, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, the Shah of Iran — is not likely to tempt today’s Asian rulers to look to Washington for guidance. The most they can hope for is that American adventurism will not interfere in their affairs. [The Free Press Journal]
The Obama Administration is reviving the use of science diplomacy to reach out to other countries, but is it just a cover for the needs of the intelligence establishment?
This new interest in science diplomacy is at least partially explained by the nature of contemporary global problems: issues of resource distribution, climate change, and uneven economic growth can only be solved with input from science. Climate change, for instance, does not respect international borders; addressing it will require international partnerships. Nor do American scientists hold a monopoly on good ideas. For these and a host of other reasons, science diplomacy makes good sense and promises benefits for the countries on either end of scientific exchange. [The Guardian]
Beijing used a play by Shakespeare that critiques democracy as a means to reach out to the citizens of Edinburgh, Scotland, and according to the author, it worked.
The play was well chosen. Strangely, for a play written four hundred years ago when England was still an absolute monarchy, “Coriolanus” is a critique of democracy, set in ancient republican Rome, as England had never experienced such a thing. A military hero stands for popular election, and fails because he is not prepared to flatter the people. He is then banished from Rome and joins the enemy forces attacking it. The adaptation by former Culture Minister Ying Ruocheng contains no added element of Chinese anti-democratic propaganda; that is not necessary, the message of Shakespeare’s drama stands for itself. The complexity of the relationship between democracy and the requirements of state is, of course, still a live issue, and one that China is particularly concerned about. This was a contribution to a hugely contemporary debate. [China.org.cn]
#US diplomacy must engage the street in the #Muslim world: http://t.co/6e0cEhQtqd #publicdiplomacy #foreignaffairs #mideast #Egypt— DarrellEzell (@darrellezell)August 25, 2013
Colombia offered to teach Spanish to tour guides from countries in East and Southeast Asia as well as Oceania and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
The initiative is the result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Presidential Agency for the International Cooperation of Colombia (APC); the Colombian Institution of Educational Credit (ICETEX) as well as eight universities in locations throughout the country. After initially contacting 16 countries from South East Asia and Oceania, the ministry received an overwhelming response from 13 countries who submitted 105 applicants, which was reduced to a total of 60. [Colombia Reports via The Public Diplomacy Update]
Brian Carlson questions the effectiveness of the U.S. State Department’s commemorative video dedicated to the anniversary of the March on Washington.
Does the “March on Washington” anniversary have similar meaning and emotional connection around the world? What does it mean to generations born after 1963? Would the video have more resonance with foreign audiences if it reflected the influence that Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence had on Dr. King’s thinking? Or if it recalled his 1959 trip to India at Nehru’s invitation? Or his other international friends and travels? [Public Diplomacy Council]
Much respect to @MSF_USA true #Publicdiplomacy warriors— Guy Golan (@GuyGolan)August 25, 2013
Donald M. Bishop, President of the Public Diplomacy Council, remembers translating Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Hong Kong in the early 1980s after realizing only a selection of it had been finished.
I didn’t want the Chinese to criticize us for the same process of “selection,” meaning scrubbing or filtering or happy faces only. So I went back through all the speeches and documents to assure we were publishing full texts. I added a few to the list, like the opinion in Quock Walker v. Jennison that ended slavery in Massachusetts. Then I set in motion a new English-Chinese edition of Living Documents. English learning had recovered enough so that many Chinese wanted to be able to compare texts in the two languages, side by side, so we printed the original English and the Chinese translation on facing pages. I’m rather proud of the 1983 USIS Hong Kong edition. It’s often cited. [Public Diplomacy Council]
Beach diplomacy #publicdiplomacy #beach #summerisover #lml @ venice beach http://t.co/Jxyp8sLDcF— Amanda Rodriguez (@amandiux7)August 24, 2013
The Washington Post culls the Twitter accounts you should follow if interested in a ground’s-eye-view of the events happening in Egypt.
These are the people you should follow on Twitter to keep track of what’s going on inside of Egypt (as well as within relevant circles in Washington), what it means, why it matters and how to think about it. You should follow the whole list (built off an earlier version). But if this is too much, skip down to the general observers and start by following them, a great way to ease into Egypt coverage. [The Washington Post]
Denmark and China established a strong diplomatic relationship through unconventional means: a bronze Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.
And while 1 million tourists come to visit her every year, arguably no one loves her more than the Chinese. Their love of the Little Mermaid began with Mandarin translations in 1918 of the H.C. Andersen story; generations of Chinese have grown up with his tales, and Andersen resonates with them as a real proletariat: a poverty-stricken, hard-working man from the slums who persevered to achieve ultimate success. So popular is Andersen in China that next year a $13-million theme park based on his fairytales will open in Shanghai. [The Daily Beast]
Thank you #India. Country report on the use of #softpower and #Culture in external relations #CultExtRel http://t.co/00BKPfLX5t— Culture External Rel (@CultExtRel)August 26, 2013
In order to attract tourism, Cuba is opening its own Cuban music version of the Hard Rock Café.
The first hotel specializing in the music of Cuba, the Blue Salsa Club, will open its doors in November with a new idea in cultural tourism in the resort community of Varadero, the most famous on the island, local media reported Sunday. The project hatched by Spain’s Blue Bay group and Cuba’s Paradiso cultural tourism agency will promote musical genres like salsa, guaracha, bolero and the Caribbean island’s traditional dances. [Latin America Herald Tribune via PDiN]
Does anyone have any information whether/how #Slovenian #embassies are promoting #EuroBasket2013 in foreign countries? #SportsDiplomacy— Tamara Juricic (@TamaraJuricic)August 23, 2013