Since 2004, the U.S. government has spent close to $1 billion on its Arabic-language television station Alhurra (“The Free One”) headquartered in Springfield, Virginia. The station has garnered sharp criticism and allegations of mismanagement. We speak with Philip Seib, lead researcher for a 2008 report on Alhurra and director of the Center on Public Diplomacy at USC, about the station and other clunky efforts at public diplomacy around the world. On Global Notes, we look at Mauritania, a country with a rich musical tradition but no formal music industry. The new compilation put out by Chicago indie Latitude Records, Wallahi le Zein!! Wezin, Jankwar and Guitar Boogie from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, captures some of the desert nation's raw musical energy.