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Home » The Daily » The Daily: For October 18, 2013

The Daily: For October 18, 2013

October 18, 2013 6:52 am by: Category: The Daily

photo credit: Beawiharta Beawiharta/REUTERS

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

In a speech on Thursday, President Obama laments the damage the government shutdown has had on the U.S.’s credibility and soft power.

The president acknowledged on Thursday that the 16-day shutdown had hurt Washington’s global position. “Probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks,” he said in a speech at the White House. “It’s encouraged our enemies, it’s emboldened our competitors, and it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.” Nye said the fiscal crisis had compounded damage to trust in the United States from revelations about the National Security Agency’s tentacular global Internet surveillance by fugitive former intelligence consultant Edward Snowden. “On culture and values, we are doing pretty well,” he said. “But on government policies, whether on surveillance or on our management of the world’s most important reserve currency, that’s where the danger is.” [Chicago Tribune]


As the UN attempts to define and promote the “human right to science,” a continuum of science access has emerged to gauge how country’s are living up to this right.

Participation in science can include taking part in scientific activities as a researcher or a subject. This requires overcoming discrimination based on gender, disabilities or poverty for instance, as well as involving vulnerable populations in the framing of research questions and the dissemination of findings, Wyndham said. Participation can also include citizens’ involvement in science-based decisions. These can be individual choices, such as whether to vaccinate a child, or policy choices, such as government funding priorities. For example, Denmark’s government has held several ‘consensus conferences’ to promote public debate on policy issues such as air pollution and genetic engineering. [Sci Dev]



The World Policy Institute sponsored a panel discussion on cultural diplomacy and how citizen artists extend beyond professional artists and policymakers to include entire communities.

The vibrant mixture of attendees reflected the cross-disciplinary nature of the panel discussion, “Beyond Cultural Diplomacy: Arts, Policy, Change,” an event sponsored by the World Policy Institute and the Yiyuan Society. The idea driving the event, and in a larger context the cultural diplomacy movement, is that every individual is both a diplomat and a citizen artist. Cultural diplomacy, a key component of international politics, entails a responsibility to support the arts through well-planned policy and to examine policy through the arts. [World Policy Blog]


As U.S. citizens turn inwards, UN agencies become vulnerable to budget cuts as congressmen and congresswomen reflect their constituencies. How can the UN make American citizens more aware how they affect their lives everyday?

Budget cuts to the UN are not politically or morally costly to lawmakers because Americans are less concerned with international issues. As the Pew Center’s Kohut noted, “getting the American public’s attention, […] is as challenging as it has ever been in the modern era.” What stands out in Kohut’s analysis is that what affects the U.S. locally remains the priority. Would UN agencies be less vulnerable to the U.S’ coercive power if they were more oriented to the American public? If so, what should be the public diplomacy approach agencies should take? And if so, what public diplomacy approach should agencies take? Perhaps if American citizens were more aware of the impact that the United Nations had on their daily lives, cuts to the UN and foreign aid would be politically costly. In this spirit, perhaps the U.N., as the global institution par excellence, needs to make very clear the local repercussions of its work to its largest financial contributor. [The CPD Blog]




Does the “Americanization” of a country open it up to better relations with the U.S. based purely on perceptions and image? And is it possible to transcend that possibility using public diplomacy?

The question about public diplomacy is not what its capabilities are, but what the capabilities and social intelligence are of those who wield it. If we are of narrow mind and immature, we will use it for narrow purposes and achieve goals that have only short term political impact, and no real positive impact for future generations. Public diplomacy is currently being used for self-interest. It is my vision that in the future public diplomacy will be used for the global interest. In the cases of Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and other isolated nations; this world that we live in has no room for any nation to exist living in total isolation, pissed off, hell bent, and fueled by anger over how they’ve been trampled on their entire existence. With nothing to lose, and everything to gain, it is up to everyone to make friends out of their enemies, or at-least make “frienemies”.  [The Peace Wager]



Robert Sharp argues that there is an imbalance between the American use of hard power and soft power, and that the U.S. is currently at a strategic inflection point to correct this problem.

In most of my overseas engagements, I have been involved with security sector development and reform through professional military education.  Throughout my travels, I have reflected on the sticks-and-carrots, direct and indirect, hard and soft power approaches that we employ as tools of our foreign policy executed through the military instrument.  As we draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have come to the conclusion that our sticks - hard power - executed in general direct approaches are becoming increasingly lethal and that our carrots - soft power - executed in general indirect approaches are limp and looking a little rotten.  I sense that we are at a strategic inflection point.   Now is the time for us to boost our carrot-indirect-soft power engagement; if we do not our global influence will further wane. [Small Wars Journal]



A USA Today columnist claims that the U.S. government shutdown was a loss for Western-style democracy and a big win for the Chinese Communist Party in terms of propaganda for sway over the Chinese youth.

Western-style democracy, of which the U.S. is the world’s most potent example, has strong appeal in China, particularly among young people. Fearing extinction, the Chinese Communist Party fights a constant propaganda battle against the influence of democratic ideas on Chinese youth. By forcing the world’s most powerful elected government to come grinding to a halt, House Republicans provided communist propagandists with a thick, juicy slice of anti-democratic red meat. [USA Today]



While there is an agenda to promote gay rights through U.S. embassies, a review of official websites in Arab nations found no references to gay issues.

The reaction against Serbia is the latest development in President Obama’s campaign to advance the gay agenda, even in countries where homosexuality is illegal. But a review of U.S. Embassy websites in Arab nations found no reference to gay issues … Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the United Nations that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” The gay diplomacy sparked a backlash in several countries with traditional social values and laws against homosexuality. [Washington Times]

American public Americanization artists Beijing Symphony Orchestra Blackberry Carnegie Hall gay rights government shutdown human rights MSNBC Paris propaganda Ronan Farrow science strategic inflection point Theatre of the World

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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