Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19

Thread: MK in Russia (new article)

  1. #1
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    27,960

    MK in Russia (new article)

    Here is a thought-provoking article that appeared in the news and views section of the Detroit Free Press today (not the sports section) discussing the U.S. State Department's $796 million "Public Diplomacy" initiative, which Michelle Kwan is involved with.

    U.S. Tackles Image Problem

    Poll: What do you think?

    (a) "[E]very little bit of good will helps."

    (b) "In order to change things, (the Bush administration) would have to change their policies, not just do a better job of explaining them."

  2. #2
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,616
    By now, I figured somebody would ask why Michelle isn't getting paid. My best guess is that she doesn't want any money. If she took money, she would have to tell those little children how wonderful Bush's policies are.

  3. #3
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    1. No, those policies will not work. They are condescending at best. Besides, I always recall what one journalist said about Vietnam - they like America, but hate the USA. At most, those policies can make people think that Americans as people are not so bad - but that won't change much in how they view its policies.

    2. Unfortunately, America will not have a good image as long as Bush is in office. This is actually not really a slam on the president this time. It's just that he is seen in such an unfavorable light that he will never be seen any other way.

    3. I am not sure exactly how much we should care what the world thinks. Let me elaborate. The most popular think America could do, and I mean something that would just shot up our popularity 1000% is stopping supporting Israel. Doesn't mean it should be done, though. America has been seen by many as a boogy-man for a long time now. To some extent, it's just cyclical. It will pass.

  4. #4
    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Watching the Wheels
    Posts
    4,984
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    The most popular think America could do, and I mean something that would just shot up our popularity 1000% is stopping supporting Israel. Doesn't mean it should be done, though.
    I am impressed you brought that up. It is a touchy topic that comes to mind from time to time when thinking about the "origins" of anti-USA feeling emanating from a majority of the middle east.
    Powerful topic.

  5. #5
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    I just thought back to the original question posed, and realized I as being a bit inconsistent. In the Russian-language blogosphere, I always try to show America in the most favorable light i can. For example, right now I just finished posting a rather long post attempting to dispel the myth that Americans don't take care of their aging parents. So I guess i do believe in targeted image improvement for America after all

  6. #6
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,045
    That Bush's policies are disliked by the rest of the world does not alter the fact that every bit of good will helps. Furthermore, I doubt that MK is in the business of explaining Bush's policies, let alone trying to defend them; I think a lot of what she does is try to show people in other countries that all Americans should not be defined solely in terms of Bush's policies.

  7. #7
    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Watching the Wheels
    Posts
    4,984
    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    I think a lot of what she does is try to show people in other countries that all Americans should not be defined solely in terms of Bush's policies.
    It is interesting to think that any country in the world would not understand that if the US government is "secretively" doing "things" in other countries, why would they not understand they are doing the same thing to their own US citizens.

    Funny that Ptichka just had a conversation / post about taking care of parents, for I have heard that scenario before regarding Israel. As though the US / Britain, etc... thinks of / thought of Israel as being a mom and dad to US, now that they became incapable of taking care of themselves they institute a "retirement home" where they "fondly remember growing up" (even though that meant taking back over that in which they lost) and now the neighbors are pissed that the "community" be forced upon them after they had already defeated and gained that land. Now they are back by force. Well fighting force with force is common. This whole war is no surprise. The thing that strikes me odd about the whole thing more than any is. Why is this land so important to a "religious belief" (separation of church and state USA???? Yah right. Can't even follow our own constitution) that professes the necessity to be free of worldly possessions. It is just earth land, what is the real importance here. The land Christ walked on, where the 2 sons of Abraham grew up - or is it the belief that is really the important factor. It just makes no sense, as well it seems to be counterproductive to the religious belief, to be hanging onto "land." Regardless of who was there, it was what they did that should be perpetuated. Not saving some land and landmarks. American and what is "supports" seem to be the most hypocritical government there is. I can see why the animosity toward our gov. But if they are listening they will see there is also a uprising of this sentiment in the USA as well. I know MK is new to this position, but it still sounds like "pussyfooting around" to me. All milk no meat.

    MK has an easy job really. There are plenty of "celebrity types" in the USA that carry the same notion other countries have of US gov.- that it is corrupt and not honest in it overseas policies and actions. And no country is really going to see her as much other than a celebrity propaganda machine sent out by the US Gov. anyway.

  8. #8
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    20,185
    If one compares Kwan to Audrey Hepburn who worked payless for UNICEF and most of the time in the bush, well.......

    Joe

  9. #9
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    27,960
    I have to agree with Sean about "holy land." Land is holy?

    Maybe it harkens back to the eternal battle between the farmers (Cain) and the herders (Abel). Yahweh, the God of a herding people, naturally liked Abel's gift the best and despised Cain's. No room for both of us, so someone's way of life has to give way for someone else's.

    Speaking of which, when Michelle visited the "English Language Camp" in the tiny, impoverished state of Kalmykia (the only Buddhist nation in Europe, by the way), the students put on a little skit for her. First the children acted out the part of goats and chanted, "We used to be roamers (nomadic herders)."

    Then they flipped off their animal costumes, pulled out their cell phones, and changed their tune to, "Now we're 'roamers!'"

    I don't think anyone is looking to MK to formulate U.S. State Department policy (or even, at this stage of her career, to know what it is). Still, there are some young peple in some far-flung place who met a pretty cool American. Every little bit helps?

  10. #10
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Seanibu, religion has very little to do with it. In terms of land, Israel and Palestinians fight over three areas - Gaza Strip (already handed over to PLO), West Bank, and Jerusalem. The only component that is indeed about religion is Jerusalem. Actually, even that is not entirely true - from a purely religious point of view, Hebron is far more important than Jerusalem, and the former has been almost fully under Palestinian control for a while now. Jerusalem is a symbol; for centuries, Jews have been concluding Passover services with "next year in Jerusalem"; it's very hard to give any of it back.

    Also, let's remember that Israel originally did not intend to keep the occupied territories (with the exception of East Jerusalem and may be a part of Golan, I don't recall now). Israel immediately offered the land back back to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt with only one condition - that they recognize Israel's right to exist! That was all! Agree that the new neighbor is there to stay and you won't try to evict him - and you get you land back! US was very happy, thinking this would surely put that issue to rest. To the amazement of the world, however, the three loosing nations turned the offer down.

    And, of course, there was also the Camp David summit with Clinton, Arafat, and Barak. At the time, the latter offered Arafat everything he could realistically want - only to be turned down. Now, there is a big issues as to whether or not Israeli Knesset would have ratified the treaty anyway, but the fact that Arafat turned it down says a lot about the approach of the old Palestinian leadership. The current president Abbas does, I think, have political will, but then again he is now is the middle of a civil war, one he cannot blame on Israel or the US.

    Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that Israel did not make mistakes. For one thing, it got very cocky after the 6 days war victory; the disaster of the Yom Kippur war (and to some extent of the recent Hebullah war) is the result. Moreover, it painted itself into a corner regarding the territories - not only does this create a huge disenfranchised population, but also takes a disproportional toll on the young man and woman who have to risk their lives protecting the tiny settlements. However, even saying that the situation is unacceptable, I would like to point out that for all the talk of the horrid conditions the Palestinians live in (and yes, I agree, those are horrid conditions) there is something curious in the HDI index. HDI is the Human Development Index UN puts out each year. Palestinian territories are at #100, above both Syria and Egypt. Too bad the impoverished Syrians and Egyptians don't get a hundredth of the sympathy the poor Palestinians do! Oh, and while we are on the subject - isn't it interesting that the Palestinians still have to live in the refugee camps in those Arab countries claiming they are all brothers? We are talking people who were born outside Israel, and still the only place they can live is a refugee camp! Ah, but of course this is still Israel's fault, not the fault of cynical and corrupt Arab governments that prefer to keep them living in abject poverty as opposed to helping them out.

    For Political reasons, most European countries would be more than happy to throw Israel under the Arab train. I, for one, am very happy that America is willing to stand up to the world, and stand with Israel.
    Last edited by Ptichka; 07-04-2007 at 11:43 AM.

  11. #11
    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Watching the Wheels
    Posts
    4,984
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    Seanibu, religion has very little to do with it.
    You trying to "school me?"

    That was really the point. Religion would be the excuse, but yes it obviously has nothing to do with it. It couldn't unless it was hypocritical - which it is. Believe one and practice another.

    In "neighbors" not excepting Israel as a country (or whatever they wanted to deem it ) is a belief, religion is based on belief. Maybe a coincidence that belief and acknowledgment were the root - and oddly enough based around the "religious territory." being the only concern.*shrugs*eta, and the star of David on the flag of the country would not convey a "religious message" either? True Religion may not be "the reason" but it is definitely a omnipresent factor in the stance of Israel - as well as the reasoning of where it was defined after WW2.

    Anyhoo, I too think it is an admirable gesture to help, but there is a point where it isn't. Helping who do what is the real question there. Is it a belligerent stance of pride? If so I can't be behind that kind of attitude. Whether it was the right thing to do in the first place or not. US / "UN of the time" got Israel "back" and now it maybe best to let them stand on their own??? Not really sure - really because the US has never really pursued making Israel a independent country, more like a "colony of a different name." That could sum up a lot of the reason for animosity from "neighbors." But I thought I did that but... I hardly ever do.

    It may not sound like it, but I most definitely am more "bothered" by the US actions regarding this topic. Another one of those times to quote "Cold Mountain." Make the rain and whine about it raining.

    The US really is young. It has had some "whippings." Still can't ever accept it is ever wrong just because it has been right on some. Yes the USA has helped and hindered. Caused happiness and perpetual sadness.
    ???
    Maybe now the USA will "grow-up" and mature. ????? We are the best opportunity for the world to live as a WORLD and not a bunch of fighting countries. Accept humility and start practicing what we preach. Other wise... well the consequence is obvious and present now.
    Last edited by SeaniBu; 07-04-2007 at 12:04 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaniBu View Post
    You trying to "school me?"
    Well, you know how I said above I always try to show up America in the positive light on Russian blogs? I guess the same is true about Israel. I don't mean to be condescending or anything like that. Sorry if I appeared that way

    Actually, relationship between Israel and religion is a very precarious one. The man behind modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl, was a very secular man; he even considered setting up the Jewish state somewhere in Africa. Early settlers were as well. If anything, they were more Communist than religious. In fact, I doubt you will find anywhere in the world as much animosity between the secular and the religious folk as you find in Israel (partially because the latter tend to receive much welfare and can often avoid military service, therefore they are seen by the former as leeches on the society). Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, did indeed have to grant some concessions to the religious groups in order to give Israel some legitimacy (at the time, this was tiny group that he didn't think would ever have much say). With time, religious groups did gain way too much power (in part because they reproduce at a much higher rate than other non-Arab Israelis). For example, up until recently there were no non-religious cemeteries (this has changed a few years ago, after public outrage over an Israeli soldier who died in the line of duty not being eligible of a burial because he wasn't Jewish by Jewish laws; this outrage was ceased upon by Russian emigrant parties to push through the reforms); to this day, there are no secular marriages (they are recognized if they are performed elsewhere, but Israelis have to go elsewhere, usually to Cyprus, to get them); heck, there is still no constitution! However, much of this is changing. For a long time, the religious Shah party has been the #3 party in the nation; now, it trails Shinui, which is an expressly secular one. Moreover, there is an increased number of "modern Orthodox" in Israel - people who follow all the religious rules, but still participate in the secular life of the country, including military service. Perhaps those are Israel's best hope in repairing the rift that could well tear it apart.

    As to letting Israel stand on its own - it is a tiny country surrounded by a sea of enemies. There are rumors that during the Yom Kippur war Nixon did not want to supply Israel, and that one reason he did so was that Golda Meier essentially said that once Israel runs out of regular ammunition, it will have no choice but to resort to nuclear (this is just a rumor, I do not know how true this is). One thing that is often overlooked is that for Israel the war it has waged for the past decades is indeed about survival. Not religious survival, or a metaphysical one, but just about its very physical existence. And yes, Israel will fight for that right with any means at its disposal.

    BTW, to test your knowledge of the history of Israel's creation, try a quiz I put together a couple of years ago - http://www.funtrivia.com/trivia-quiz...el-216376.html.
    Last edited by Ptichka; 07-04-2007 at 12:23 PM.

  13. #13
    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Watching the Wheels
    Posts
    4,984
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    Well, you know how I said above I always try to show up America in the positive light on Russian blogs? I guess the same is true about Israel. I don't mean to be condescending or anything like that. Sorry if I appeared that way
    Sorry, I tried to convey the "not so serious all in jest" nature with the emoticon "" I took it as you don't really know what I know, but I see that how could you? I am not the best poster on the forum, sometimes my comments get construed or misunderstood.

    I also think most are aware that Israel did not really win the 6 day war all by it's lonesome. I mean look at what they were flying to win it.

    As for the location - I think they have tracked one of the 12 tribes to lower Africa [Another good point, the 12 left long ago] - I believe that to be a full push from the "Good Ol' USA" almost as though we wouldn't support them anywhere else. That is a reason - with the excuse of "holy land" - the "UN of the post WW2" desired to locate it where it is. JMO.

    btw - Happy 4th
    Last edited by SeaniBu; 07-04-2007 at 12:46 PM.

  14. #14
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    27,960
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    There are rumors that during the Yom Kippur war Nixon did not want to supply Israel, and that one reason he did so was that Golda Meier essentially said that once Israel runs out of regular ammunition, it will have no choice but to resort to nuclear (this is just a rumor, I do not know how true this is).
    Indeed. One of those situations where the threat is more effective than the execution.

    The worst geo-political consequence of the war between the United States and Iraq (IMHO) is that, to all intents and purposes, we have handed the region over to Iran. Plus, having squandered our resources, we now lack the means and the will to provent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka
    Actually, the relationship between Israel and religion is a very precarious one.
    Again, indeed.

    But it's even worse in the Arab world. Outsiders are dumbfounded at the level of hatred between the Sunni's and the Shi'ites in Iraq. The two sides now seem to be willing to forget all about their common hatred for their "historic" enemy, Israel ("history" = since 1948), and for the American invaders. When we try to find out what their problem is with each other, all we learn is that 1200 years ago somebody won or lost his bid to become Caliph, somebody liked Mohammad's son-in-law and somebody didn't, so quite naturally Allah wants us to murder as many people on the next street as possible. It all just seems psychotic (like the Catholics versus the Protestants in Northern Ireland).

    But if so, it's human nature. The real history is, for the last thousand years, all over the middle east, one group has been the tyrannical ruling majority and the other the despised, persecuted minority. In this sort of situation, when you bust in and hang the dictator, you can't be surprised if all hell breaks loose.

  15. #15
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaniBu View Post
    As for the location - I think they have tracked one of the 12 tribes to lower Africa [Another good point, the 12 left long ago] - I believe that to be a full push from the "Good Ol' USA" almost as though we wouldn't support them anywhere else. That is a reason - with the excuse of "holy land" - the "UN of the post WW2" desired to locate it where it is. JMO.
    What are you talking about? US did not exactly support Israel early on. Truman's secretary of state told him he himself wouldn't vote for him if he chose to have US vote for Israel in the UN. Honestly, the idea of the Jewish state in Africa just never took off at all; I've just used the example to explain how secular Herzl was

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •