The CSS Blog Network

1948-1953: Psychology of Hope in Propaganda Films

In early May London’s Barbican Centre showed its audience the lost and re-discovered propaganda films of the Marshall Plan.

Produced between 1948 and 1953 these films taught the wider Western European public about democratic values and free trade market principles.

The Barbican screening was made possible through the Selling Democracy Project, curated by Sandra Schulberg and Ed Carter.

For all propaganda film nostalgics out there: Some of the films shown at the Barbican’s are also viewable online, via the Film Archive of the German Historical Museum. All available material comes with valuable English descriptions.

Air of Freedom is one of the propaganda films available in the German Historical Museum archive

Air of Freedom is one of the propaganda films available in the German Historical Museum archive

And yet another “vraie trouvaille”, free of charge: The German Newsreel Archives.
The archives are in the process of being set up, but so far 6044 items can be called up.

Screenshot: German Historical Museum Film Archive.

ISN Weekly Theme: International Security Forum

We’re well in the throes of getting ready for the International Security Forum (ISF), happening at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) 18 – 20 May. This year, the gathering of IR and security researchers and professionals will tackle the topic “Coping with Global Change.”

Check out the ISN Special Report Safeguarding Security in Turbulent Times for views from Nayef Al-Rodhan, Anne-Marie Buzatu, James A Lewis, Alyson JK Bailes on issues to watch during these changing times.

Emmanuel Clivaz’s Private Contractors on the Battlefield, an ISN Case Study, examines the he emergence of private military contractors and the theoretical components of the flexibility-control balance in a theater of war. You can find it in the ISN Digital Library.

And the latest addition to our Links Library is The SecDev group, an operational consultancy focused on countries and regions at risk from violence and insecurity.

The Power of Photography: Addiction in Afghanistan

Screenshot of the New York Times

Although often mentioned and cited, the opium problem in Afghanistan has rarely been given a human face. The New York Times recently put up a fascinating and informative
slideshow that illustrates the real effects of the global heroin/opium epidemic on the population of the country that is known to be the source of the international scourge. It shows faces, realities and fates in a country where opium is readily available and an attractive escape for those at the bottom of an already-fragile socio-economic ladder.
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“Israel Is Unsettled” by New US Mideast Policy

daniel_mockli

Daniel Möckli / photo: Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

In what I think is a very good piece of international affairs analysis, Daniel Möckli of the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich comments on the new US policy on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Möckli talks to Swiss-German radio’s Echo der Zeit, Switzerland’s flagship news program, on the impact on Israel of Obama’s policy .

“There are signs that US policy on Iran takes a direction, which does not necessarily meet Israeli interests” says Möckli. “Israel is obviously unsettled”. The interview comes at a time when Israel’s president Shimon Peres voices support of the new US approach, even though the prime minister and his government are tough on Iran and the Palestinians.

Möckli also comments on the Swiss government’s engagement in the Middle East. According to him, the Swiss government has decided to no longer mediate between Iran the West on the nuclear issue, due to domestic political reasons. “I personally regret this, because we’ve been very successful there”.

Daniel Möckli has been a guest of ISN Podcasts, where he discussed Swiss Mideast policy. A policy brief he wrote on Switzerland’s controversial policy in the region can be accessed through the ISN’s Digital Library.

Mrs Clinton opens “Asian century” for the US

With a note of regret, Kishore Mahbubani predicted that East Asia would not be a priority for the new US administration. In an article published in May 2008, the dean of the Lee Kuang Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore heralded an Asian century in which the US is struggling to find its place:

Kishore Mahbubani

“No country did more than the United States to spark the rise of East Asia. But paradoxically, America is among the countries leas prepared to handle the rise of East Asia. Evidence of this will likely stream in as soon as a new US president assumes office in January 2009. The president’s schedulers will begin to fill his or her calender with “must attend” events such as Group of eight meetings and a US-European Union summit. The schedulers will fill the “optional” column with events such as visits to Tokyo and Beijing, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits, and meetings with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). If this happens, it will demonstrate that Washington’s priorities continue to be decided according to old mental maps. Few US policy makers seem aware that Western domination of world history is over – that we are moving into an Asian century […]”

Mahbubani must be surprised by the new US administration, which decided to send their Secretary of State and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to what he supposed to be second-rate destinations in East Asia: Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul and Beijing are the capitals Clinton will be visiting on her first trip abroad this week. » More

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