Gilani Must Have Missed That Meeting

by Steven R. Corman Last night’s PBS NewsHour carried and interview with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  He said a lot of interesting things. For example, he said that the reason the Pakistani Army can’t go after the Bad Guys in the FATAs is because they don’t have Predators.  He implied that President Bush had agreed to give him some so the Pakistanis could do the flying and shooting.  I wonder how the Indians […] Read more »

The Problem with Smith-Mundt

by Steven R. Corman Matt Armstrong of the MountainRunner blog probably knows more about the Smith-Mundt Act than any other living human, and he’s not even a lawyer. He has just published an “interim version” (?) of an essay on Smith-Mundt over at Small Wars Journal.  It begins with the (very good) question “how can a guy in cave out propagandize the country that created public relations and the Internet?” Partial answer: The Smith-Mundt Act. […] Read more »

249 in House Vote to Support al Qaeda’s Communication Strategy

by Steven R. Corman Jeffrey Imm over at CT Blog did a post yesterday admiring Rep. Hoekstra’s attempt to amend H.R. 5959 to deny DHS and NCTC the ability to expend any funds in their efforts to discourage use of words like “jihad” in U.S. strategic communication. The amendment was defeated, but passed and 249 members of the House (and 6 of 8 members of the Arizona delegation, including my own Congressman) voted for it. […] Read more »

Time to Stop Fooling Ourselves about Salafis

by Mark Woodward* In wars that are as much about ideas as they are about anything else, it is convenient to have enemies that are clearly defined, easily demonized and clearly distinguishable from real or imagined allies. When none are apparent we all too often imagine them. Referring to our opponents in the “Global War on Terror” as “Muslim” or “Islamic” terrorists is counterproductive because no matter the intent, these terms suggest that Muslims are […] Read more »

Three Unasked Questions for Glassman

by Steven R. Corman As Matt over at MountainRunner noted, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman’s recent PR offensive included a roundtable conference call with bloggers earlier this week. What a difference and appointee makes. I haven’t actually counted appearances, but I’ll bet has has allready outdone his predecessors (maybe even both of them, combined) in terms of Op-Ed pieces, speeches, appearances, and so on.  And he wins hands-down on the blogger […] Read more »

Simulating Peace in Israel and Palestine

Z. S. Justus Today I restructured the Palestinian police force. Earlier in the day I launched a joint cultural initiative between Israelis and Palestinians, but not before I eased travel restrictions in Gaza. Of course I did not actually do any of these things, but an innovative simulation by Impactgames allowed me to try out different policy ideas and scenarios as part of their game/teaching tool Peacemaker. The simulation is part of a growing class […] Read more »

Off With His Hand!

by Steven R. Corman Those whacky Palestinian Children’s TV programmers are at it again. First, they brought you story time with Sheikh Muhammad, telling the kids about a Jewish woman who tried to poison the Prophet. Next they created Farfour  the Mouse (a cheap imitation of Mickey) who squeaked about liberating the Muslim lands from the murderers.  He was finally martyred when he was  beaten to death by an Israeli agent in his final show. […] Read more »

Scheuer: Salafis Are Fooling Us

by Steven R. Corman A few weeks ago I wrote about an appearance by Michael Scheuer on a radio talk show.  The theme was the possible disintegration of al Qaeda based on recent denouncements and recantations by prominent  ideologues.  He was going against the grain, arguing that the reformed extremists were making their statements from prisons, and nobody in the Muslim world would take them seriously. Today, Scheuer published a downright iconoclastic essay over at […] Read more »

Glassman is Right

by Steven R. Corman Though I’m not too sure what he has been doing in terms of actual public diplomacy lately, it’s apparent that Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman has been working overtime on public affairs.  Since his recent confirmation he has produced a a slew of speeches, TV appearances, op-eds and other communication intended for domestic consumption. Though earlier I joined John Brown in expressing some reservations about Glassman’s approach, I […] Read more »

Minerva Followup

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday I participated in a Blogger’s Rountable discussion with Dr. Thomas Mahnken, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, about the DoD’s Minerva program.  The audio from the roundtable was supposed to be up immediately after the event, but it’s not there  yet as I’m posting.  Perhaps it will be up by the time you read this.  The audio is now available here. I wrote about the Minerva program following a previous roundtable […] Read more »