Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
There was a lot of soft power talk leading up to the Sochi Olympics. How has that talk been affected by the actual games?
Once prior judgements are made about the international context, the domestic situation and Russia’s Olympic preparations, more gets thrown into the mix as we reach the Opening Ceremony and the Olympics commence. The picture gets more complex as the Olympics progress: views get amended, hopes dashed or confirmed, expectations met or thwarted. Why am I saying all this? - Because our judgement and perception of the Olympics is bound to be different as we look at them from different perspectives, at different times, and in different circumstances. [The Unbearable Lightness of Russian Soft Power]
Asia is all-in on public diplomacy and especially social media diplomacy, but is it paying dividends?
But like a poorly thought out camera photo in the bathroom that reveals a little too much, controlling your image is harder than it looks. Often states suffer from social media smack downs and Facebook faux pas. According to Hall, the more governments try to manipulate their images, the more they alienate rather than attract foreigners in the region. “This is particularly true for China,” says Hall. “The evidence shows that, despite all of its expenditure on public diplomacy, China has not improved its standing in foreign public opinion inside Asia. Indeed, most poll data suggests that China’s reputation in the region has worsened rather than improved. Furthermore, when we look at other states in the region, we see no favourable or obvious relationship between spending on public diplomacy and soft power status.” [Australian National University]
Tempted but tired to write yet another wish list for yet another incoming U/S for #publicdiplomacy. New faces, but problems remain the same.
— Robert Kelley (@agencychange) February 17, 2014
More effective: @McFaul connecting with Russian followers on Twitter or an 85-minute film played on a major Russian broadcast station (viewed by 75% of urban Russians, according to Wikipedia) that interrupts the Olympic broadcast accusing the U.S. of continuing to wage psychological warfare? Mediated public diplomacy for the win!
Coming in the midst of a winter sports festival designed to promote international harmony, and just days after President Vladimir Putin’s amicable visit to the American Olympic house here, the prime-time film on nationwide TV portrayed the United States as an implacably hostile and astonishingly competent foe. Anti-Americanism is par for the course on state-supported Russian TV, but the airing of the film on a night of Olympic action made an especially unsubtle point. To prove its case, the film interspersed clips of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels with snippets from 1950s American TV ads, paused briefly on the punk protest group Pussy Riot, and cut from the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad by U.S. troops in 2003 to the toppling of a statue of Lenin in Kiev, Ukraine, by protesters in December. [Washington Post]
Non-Obvious Diplomacy “How the #Swiss Model is Creating High-Paying Manufacturing Jobs in America” #PublicDiplomacy http://t.co/Poqe2f6raA
— Jeff Ballinger (@press4change) February 18, 2014
Is the European Union’s (at least) partial dependency on soft power in the Ukraine situation to blame for its inability achieve its desired outcome?
Second, the EU’s foreign policy, coming as it does from a self-proclaimed ‘soft power’, has been characterised by a distinct lack of geostrategic thinking. It was obvious, at least as far back as late 2011 – when Vladimir Putin announced his plans for a Eurasian Union – that Moscow would not let Ukraine walk into any trade or association deal with the EU. Brussels, on the other hand, was totally unprepared to deal with this situation. For one, its own foreign policy has rested largely on conditionality and attempts at ‘resocialisation’ in place of the classic instruments of power. At the same time, there was hardly any consensus among the Member States regarding their approach to Russian opposition to Ukraine’s association with the EU. The argument often made by EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech shortly before the Vilnius Summit, that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) is not directed against Russia, has had little effect. Indeed, Moscow clearly perceives the ENP as a threat to its ambitions in its own neighbourhood. [EuroPP Blog]
#publicdiplomacy #emergingnations #publicationopportunity http://t.co/WeG24Trrhu
— Russell (@russwalker09) February 17, 2014
Call for Papers! - http://t.co/jSjqjq6utE
— Exchange Journal (@exchangePD) February 12, 2014
More photoshop fun than public diplomacy, but fun nonetheless: Russian propaganda turned LGBT propaganda.
All eyes are on Russia, the post-Soviet country that won the Olympic lottery and is currently playing host to the world’s most skilled winter athletes. With this attention has come the cold realization that the country’s legal system viciously promotes anti-LGBT views, making it nearly impossible for individuals in “non-traditional” relationships to pursue the rights held by other citizens. In a fantastic effort to combat homophobic attitudes in Russia, a tumblr by the name of Pride Propaganda is transforming vintage Soviet posters into rainbow shows of support. The familiar images of Young Pioneers, strong working men and loyal mothers take on entirely new meanings when cloaked in the vibrant colors we’ve come to associate with the global pride movement. [Huffington Post]
Worse nation branding or mediated public diplomacy? (The answer is just “worst.”) Worse nation branding or mediated public diplomacy? (The answer is just “worst.”)
Guardian front page, Tuesday 18 February 2014: UN compares North Korea to Nazi regime pic.twitter.com/d5u6WTZgiv — Guardian news (@guardiannews) February 17, 2014
I’ll be completely honest: I have no idea if this piece on hard power vs. soft power in management is satire or not.
To the contrary, soft power is magical. It is like a fairytale or legendary songs which remain etched in the hearts and minds, even when their peak of popularity is over. Every time they are repeated they bring forth fond memories and invoke feelings of jubilation. A manager wielding soft power relies on impressionable personality traits which make a positive difference in the lives they touch. Such a manager doesn’t need the crutches of a high position, neither the trappings of an office. This power lasts beyond any hierarchies or reporting lines. [The International News]
Share your culture during @DigiDiplomats‘ Cultural Diplomacy Vine-A-Thon! #SMW14 17-21 February: http://t.co/l5ZIXBHnO0 #DigitalDiplomacy” — Amanda Rodriguez (@amandiux7) February 17, 2014
So #bbcworldservice plans new website for Africa and global news for younger audiences #softpower @WritersofColour http://t.co/u2gzZBy5wU
— pat younge (@tcmbigcheese) February 18, 2014
photo credit: Pride Propaganda