Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Between the U.S. and Europe, there should be more than enough of both hard and soft power to sway Ukraine in Europe’s direction, except that there is not.
Things look different a decade later. The United States has been humbled by military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq that turned sour after achieving the initial objective of ousting hostile rulers. Europe’s preference for diplomacy, nation-building and the “soft power” of economic engagement no longer looks quite so illusory, though it has not necessarily proved more effective. In the Ukrainian case, Washington and Brussels may differ on tactics but they share common objectives, American and European officials say, and neither is considering the use of force. Both believe that Ukrainians should be free to choose closer economic integration with Europe and that Russia should not be allowed to thwart that aim with threats and sanctions. Both are prepared to contribute to an aid package if Kiev meets conditions set by the International Monetary Fund, which Mr. Yanukovych has refused to accept. Neither is willing to outbid the $15 billion offered by the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in grants, loans and cheap gas to Ukraine. [New York Times]
An Internet-based, independent TV station is broadcasting the clashes in Kiev. It would be fascinating to see the contrasts between its images and what RT is broadcasting (or the official Ukrainian international broadcaster, if one exists).
Now, as night falls in the capital, the independent Ukrainian station Espreso TV is broadcasting a live feed of the surreal scene in Independence Square—a feed punctuated by intermittent explosions, spirited singing, and fiery speeches. The whole thing is bracing to behold. As Hayes Brown of ThinkProgress wrote on Twitter, “I am currently watching Ukrainian riot police lineup into formation half a world away. The future is terrifying.” [The Atlantic via PDiN]
— PDatState (@PDatState) February 19, 2014
Twitter is providing (at least one) platform for pictures of the Venezuelan protests to be broadcast to the world despite government efforts to block them.
Yesterday, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom the government has blamed for the recent protests, promised to turn himself in under one condition: that the protests continue in Caracas today. This morning, tens of thousands of people obliged. Twitter has been flooded with aerial pictures of the mass protests—many of which Venezuela’s government seems to prefer no one see, as it blocked some of them from appearing for a time, according to the company. [Quartz]
— Levantine (@levantine18) February 18, 2014
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas invited 300 Israeli students and youth leaders to visit the Palestinian presidential compound, one of the largest gatherings of Israelis in Ramallah since a 2002 military operation.
The visit, originally scheduled for December but postponed due to a severe snowstorm, was organized by the OneVoice movement and member of Knesset Hilik Bar, who previously led a delegation of Israeli lawmakers to visit Mr. Abbas. While Abbas is not known for being particularly charismatic, both supporters and critics of the event seemed to agree that he presented a more lively side to his young listeners. “For Israeli students in Ramallah, Abbas was a rock star,” the centrist Times of Israel declared, while a critical column from the right-wing outlet Arutz Sheva said the president’s speech was “anything but bland.” [Christian Science Monitor]
— Michael Ardaiolo (@mpardaiolo) February 18, 2014
Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk suggests Palestine pursue the soft power of economic motivators in its bid for statehood.
Instead, Falk said that Palestinians should adopt a legitimacy war strategy analogous to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. Although he noted that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is not the same scenario, he agreed with Said that Palestine can adopt a similar solution by considering the soft power of economic motivators. Just as the South African government suffered from international alienation, several countries, including countries that have historically supported Israel such as Germany and the Netherlands, are breaking off business transactions with Israel until it complies with international law. [The Daily Princtonian]
— Twiplomacy (@Twiplomacy) February 19, 2014
— Slovak Embassy UK (@SLOVAKIAinUK) February 19, 2014
photo credit: Reuters/Maks Levin