civic actions

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Classic Quotable: Edward G. Lansdale on how Americans are seen “Through Foreign Eyes” (1963)

Saturday, April 8th 2017

Major General Edward G. Lansdale (1908-1987) – an Air Force intelligence officer whose career included service in the Philippines during the Huk Rebellion and in Vietnam during that war – was a major thinker and practitioner in counterinsurgency.  He emphasized “hearts and minds,” psychological operations, and civic actions.  When William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick wrote their influential novel, The Ugly American, “Colonel Hillendale” was modeled on Lansdale.


A memorandum that Lansdale penned in 1963 is frequently cited by scholars, but it has not been available on the web.  Lansdale wrote the memorandum for military advisors in Vietnam, but its profile of the images, traits, and behaviors of Americans – touching on professional competence, language skills, accessibility, empathy, directness, enthusiasm, adaptability, patience, humor, temper, and politics -- is evergreen.  So is his counsel to “know the country” and “be a good guest.”


Title:              MEMORANDUM, From Maj. Gen. Lansdale, Subject: Through Foreign Eyes

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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. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

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