North Vietnam

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Classic Quotable: Martin Herz on television and the Vietnam war -- free-fire zones, bombing, defoliation, mangroves (1984)

Saturday, October 8th 2016

A career Foreign Service Officer who became Political Counselor in Saigon, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and Ambassador to Bulgaria, Martin F. Herz (1917-1983) directed the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University after his retirement.  In 1982, he gave a series of four lectures that gathered his first-hand, personal views of the Vietnam war.  He challenged the conventional interpretations of the war.  Public Diplomacy officers – in their roles as Information Officers at Foreign Service posts and public affairs officers in State Department bureaus – always have a professional interest in media coverage.  When roles are debated, the Vietnam War looms as a large case study.  Many of the issues and dilemmas reviewed by Herz are evergreen. 

 

Headline:     “How it Looked on the Tube” and “Aspects of the ‘High Tech’ War”

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

Classic Quotable: Martin Herz on the American media’s distortion of events in Vietnam (1984)

Saturday, October 1st 2016

A career Foreign Service Officer who became Political Counselor in Saigon, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and Ambassador to Bulgaria, Martin F. Herz (1917-1983) directed the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University after his retirement.  In 1982, he gave a series of four lectures that gathered his first-hand, personal views of the Vietnam war.  They are not congruent with much of what has become the conventional wisdom on that conflict. 

 

Public Diplomacy officers – in their roles as Information Officers at Foreign Service posts and public affairs officers in State Department bureaus – always have a professional interest in how government and the media interact.  When roles are debated, the Vietnam War looms as a large case study. 

 

Headline:     The Vietnam War in Retrospect: Four Lectures, Lecture Two

 

Subhead:      “Role of the Mass Media” and “Washington Believes the Media”

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

Classic Quotable: Edward G. Lansdale on North Vietnam’s “political/psychological campaign”

Saturday, June 25th 2016

During the Vietnam war, Air Force Major General Edward G. Lansdale advocated a far greater emphasis on using “psychological operations” than did other military leaders in Saigon, Hawaii, and Washington.  The legendary and controversial Lansdale has been the subject of biographies by Jonathan Nashel and Cecil Currey, and another book, by Max Boot, is in progress.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Lansdale’s comments at the Air Force Academy’s military history symposium on Air Power and Warfare in 1978.  (These comments are on pp. 334-335.)  I am confident that when Lansdale mentioned “Our main psychological operations agency,” he meant USIA.

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Quotable: Herbert J. Bowsher on public opinion in the Vietnam war

Thursday, January 28th 2016

Academic and policy discussions of Public Diplomacy, foreign policy, and the media often look back to the war in Vietnam.  The Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) in Saigon, which briefed the media daily – the popular term for the briefings was the “Five O’Clock Follies” – was led by USIA legend Barry Zorthian.

 

Marine Corps Major Herbert J. Bowsher stepped into this contentious past and recapped “10 Lessons of Vietnam” for a new generation of Marines.  The whole article in the November, 2015, issue of Marine Corps Gazette, is worth reading, especially by information officers at embassies and public affairs advisors in State Department bureaus.  Here’s his Lesson 6, “Understand the Strategic Center of Gravity":

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

Quotable: Legatum Institute Report on Counter Propaganda by Nicholas Cull

Sunday, December 20th 2015

There’s an abundant historical literature on Public Diplomacy, and a July 24, 2015, report published by the Legatum Institute, “Counter Propaganda: Cases from US Public Diplomacy and Beyond,” provides a crisp historical review.  The author is Professor Nicholas Cull of the University of Southern California, well known as the author of the magisterial The Cold War and the United States Information Agency 1945-1989 (Cambridge University Press, 2008).  For Public Diplomacy, propaganda, and counter-propaganda, the report includes principles, case studies, historical lessons learned, and recommendations in only 12 pages of text.

 

Professor Cull’s review of propaganda through the 1930s is full of cautionary examples, well explains the word’s negative associations, and summarizes the post-World War I debate to define what is licit and illicit.  The compact section on World War II and the longer portion on the Cold War are full of instructive examples – too many forgotten – that still echo in America’s approach to Public Diplomacy. 

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

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