Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is calling for a greater role for states in India’s economic diplomacy, which is a model with a proven track record of success.
The concept Modi was describing in his talk, far from fantastical, enjoys strong academic and practical support. Termed “constituent diplomacy” or “paradiplomacy,” it was first proposed in 1990 by the American scholar John Kincaid, who outlined a foreign policy role for local and regional governments within a democratic federal system. Considerable academic attention has since been devoted to paradiplomacy, with potential applications as wide-ranging as addressing the euro crisis to managing American interests in the Middle East. Economic paradiplomacy related to trade and investment in particular has become an institutionalized practice across the world – in federal states like the United States, Canada and Belgium, quasi-federal states like Spain, non-federal states like Japan and even non-democratic states like the People’s Republic of China. A few distinct models of paradiplomacy are practiced around the world, all successful at FDI promotion. [The Diplomat]
In the confirmation hearing for the nomination of the new U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Richard Stengal did not propose any big changes for the office.
It appears from the confirmation hearing, that Stengel does not appear to intend to make any massive changes to the way public diplomacy works at State. Rather, he intends to focus on enhancing America’s PD strengths, particularly in the area of exchange. For the time being, this is probably the best way to go, as before a case can be made for making significant structural changes in the PD apparatus, a successful portfolio of success should be assembled to help gain more of the support it deserves from Congress. [American Security Project]
— Sally Sit (@ssitou) November 11, 2013
Can beauty contents be used as soft power tools in the same way international sporting events are these days?
Beauty contests, like sporting events, can be a tool for exerting a form of “soft power” in China, says a leading Chinese-American entrepreneur. During an interview in Moscow, where she is attending the Miss Universe pageant, Yue-Sai Kan said that China’s Communist past has made it difficult for the country to now recognize and value physical beauty. “The problem is that China still lacks a culture of beauty, granted to (individuals) in Italian or Latin America, although we have beautiful girls,” said Yue-Sai, who is one of the richest and most influential Chinese women to represent her country in the world. [Gazzetta del Sud]
The Chinese government rejected the visa application of a veteran American journalist, following a trend that has seen tighter restrictions on foreign news outlets in the country.
The websites for Bloomberg News and The New York Times have been blocked in China for more than a year following the publication of investigative articles by both news organizations that detailed the wealth accumulated by relatives of top Chinese leaders. Since then, employees for both Bloomberg and The Times have been awaiting residency visas that would allow them to report from China. Such tactics appear to have had an impact. On Saturday, The Times detailed a decision late last month by Bloomberg to withhold publication of an investigative report, more than a year in the works, that explored hidden financial ties between one of China’s wealthiest men and the families of senior Chinese leaders. [New York Times]
— Matt Armstrong (@mountainrunner) November 8, 2013
Can Azerbaijan’s method of lavishly schmoozing foreign policymakers—“caviar diplomacy”—shift attitudes in its favor?
A little caviar and a lot of oil goes a long way. In recent years, Baku has spent millions of dollars to persuade politicians in Europe and the United States that the oil-rich Caucasus country is a reliable partner — and to distract them from criticism that the country is authoritarian and fails to respect fundamental human rights … The lavish event was part of Baku’s aggressive strategy of “caviar diplomacy,” using a broad array of gifts and junkets and other inducements to shift the opinions of policy makers in Azerbaijan’s favor. [RFERL]
As American universities look to expand abroad, is academic freedom being affected by the local political environment?
In recent years, Western universities have pushed into the Gulf region and into China, setting up programs ranging from student exchanges to full-fledged campuses … For the American Association of Universities, academic freedom “has to be one critical characteristic of a university,” says the association’s vice president, John Vaughn. But he says he would understand if American universities investing in new foreign markets did not always uphold such characteristics. “Each institution has to make its own judgment about the balance of necessary principles and accommodation to different circumstances based on their own objectives,” he argues. “Clearly money is a critical element,” Mr. Vaughn acknowledges, even if it “is not a principal motivation.” [Christian Science Monitor via PDiN]
— James Crocker (@crockerja) November 11, 2013
The ever-expanding NSA eavesdropping scandal could be more destructive to alliances in the long-term than it may seem on the surface.
It is worth remembering that there is probably nothing more damaging to friendly relations among democratic states than a combination of losing faith (in an ally) and losing face (at home) as a result of an ally’s actions. These two related aspects sum up the destructive potential of the NSA scandal for the transatlantic partnership, both at the personal, elite level as well as in the broader public diplomacy context. [Gulf News]
— Cynthia Schneider (@schneidercp) November 11, 2013