Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Everyone is now well-aware of RT’s mission as an international broadcaster. But how big of a role did domestic Russian state TV play in Ukraine in frame-building and agenda setting?
In Ukraine, where those same Russian TV channels enjoyed wide viewership – at least until very recently – the Russian viewpoint is greeted with far more skepticism and even derision, at least from many people in Kiev who watched the Maidan events unfold firsthand. “I can’t watch the news anymore. I get most of my news from Facebook these days,” says Oksana Fedorenko, an English teacher in Kiev. “This is an issue of critical thinking, and some people don’t know how to do that. They just believe what they are fed.” The new Ukrainian government takes the power of Russian media seriously enough that its official National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council this month told Ukrainian providers to stop carrying five Moscow-based news channels, citing the need to defend the country’s sovereignty. The move followed the pro-Russian Crimean leadership’s decision to shut down Ukrainian broadcasters on the territory and replace them with Russian ones. [Christian Science Monitor]
The Fulbright Program is being threatened with a 13% cut to its budget; Rebecca Schuman argues against the cuts, calling it the U.S.’s biggest diplomacy bargain.
Now, though, our “flagship international educational exchange program” is being threatened with an unprecedented 13 percent budget cut—$30 million, chiseled from the president’s current proposed State Department budget of $46.2 billion. I’m sure that $30 million will be well allocated elsewhere in the federal government—just kidding, it’ll probably buy two and a half drones—but it robs scholars of a serious source of serious international research—and robs the United States of one of its greatest, most lasting, and cheapest diplomacy bargains. [Slate]
Check out the amazing fan growth of #EU Heads of Government #Facebook pages cc @marcorecorderpic.twitter.com/3Y6G9q3rct
— Twiplomacy (@Twiplomacy) March 27, 2014
Edward A. McCord, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program at George Washington University, defends Confucius Institutes by citing the lack of evidence of their restricting academic freedoms.
The greatest problem with such criticism is that it often leaps from suspicions and concerns to a conclusion of fact. At most, a small number of anecdotal cases are repeated to support broader charges that the Confucius Institutes will have a deleterious impact on American academic life. There may have been a place for such concerns, and caution, when the first Confucius Institutes were established in 2003; but with nearly 100 now operating in the U.S. there is sufficient experience on which to evaluate how these organizations have interacted in practice with American academia. In the absence of reports of widespread problems or abuses, it seem that the main worries about Confucius Institutes have not been substantiated. [The Diplomat]
Compare this story about the U.S. deputy secretary of state for public diplomacy visiting Taiwan to yesterday’s troubling dispersal of peaceful protestors.
A visiting official from the United States State Department on Wednesday lauded the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. and described Taiwan as “a vibrant democracy.” “The relationship is good and we have very good cooperation” on economics and trade, Susan Stevenson, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told CNA in an interview. [CNA]
Think #Catalonia ‘s best bet is #publicdiplomacy WITHIN Spain 2 get indy support: How Spain Can Avoid Its Own Crimea http://t.co/TlYmjEjzSf — sean aday (@adaystew) March 26, 2014
The tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was a mediated public diplomacy disaster for Malaysia’s improving relations with China.
Frustrations with the way Malaysia has handled the search are more and more evident with each new statement from China’s government. The anger has been even more apparent in China’s state-run media outlets. Xinhua denounced the silence of officials, bemoaning the fact that “Chinese and Vietnamese vessels … combed the [South China] sea area again and again, while some already knew for sure that search and rescue missions would be in vain.” The article concluded that “withholding information from the public can be dangerous, even lethal. Silence, sometimes, can kill.” The public falling out between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing could have lasting implications for regional diplomacy. [The Diplomat]
Read: #Publicdiplomacy report by Bruce Gregory, “The Paradox of US Public Diplomacy: Its Rise and “Demise”” @IPDGC http://t.co/MLHU8UH8fe
— ISD (@GUDiplomacy) March 26, 2014
Editorial in China’s state-run Global Times calls out Japan’s aid diplomacy to southeast Asian countries.
Countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar are independent and have the right to cooperate with any other state as long as such communication and exchanges are not targeted at a third party. Their independence in foreign policy should be fully respected and exercised. What’s more, these underdeveloped countries are in dire need of diversified investments and balanced markets. Thereby the key lies in whether China, Japan and other investors can compete with each other on an equal footing and refrain from a zero-sum game as globalization endows every nation with an equal opportunity. Southeast and South Asian nations will not take sides, because since the end of the Cold War they have recognized their position in the international community and adopted a balanced diplomatic policy among powers by collaborating with a wide spectrum of states. [Global Times]
Bahrain’s celebrity anti-diplomacy http://t.co/OcZXEK91Vq #publicdiplomacy
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) March 26, 2014
The director-general of UNESCO gives a keynote address about the organization’s soft power throughout the world.
The Public Diplomacy Magazine is accepting letters to the editor in its upcoming issue for the first time ever.
What did you think of Public Diplomacy Magazine’s latest issue, “Gastrodiplomacy”? Public Diplomacy Magazine invites you participate in the conversation by submitting a letter to the Editor for publication in the Summer 2014 issue, “The Power of Non-State Actors.” [Public Diplomacy Magazine]
#SoftPower tactics from the State Dept RT @gopfashionista Putin is shaking in his boots tonight with this WH tweet. pic.twitter.com/dD0QgEQcHV
— Andrew Christiansen (@ar_christiansen) March 27, 2014
photo credit: Christian Science Monitor