“Propaganda in Reverse”

“Jingoist newspaper articles, or thoughtlessly provocative speeches in Congress, may become propaganda in reverse.” This was the 1963 observation of emeritus Princeton professor of politics John B. Whitton (1892-1977) in his book Propaganda and the Cold War (Washington, Public Affairs Press, 1963, pp. 10-11).  His chapter on “The American Effort Challenged” included a subhead —…

Edward G. Lansdale, 1956. Credit: USAF Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center.

Ed Lansdale, Vietnam, “Sharp Power” and “Psychological”

                The disinformation, propaganda, and malign narratives that now trouble international relations reach beyond the traditional Public Diplomacy frames of “mutual understanding,” “winning hearts and minds” and “soft power.” They are tools of “sharp power,” defined by the National Endowment for Democracy as “authoritarian influence efforts” that “pierce,…

The Value of a U.S. Speaker

Professor Wilfred M. McClay, then holding the SunTrust Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, recalled his experience as a U.S. speaker who visited Turkey under State Department auspices in 2006.  His article gave testimony to the value of Public Diplomacy’s speaker programs. It showed how speakers’ willingness to go…

A USIA legend: Douglas Pike, Vietnam, and counterinsurgency

As Americans look back on nearly two decades of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, the experiences and analyses of a junior officer of the U.S. Information Agency during the war in Vietnam, Douglas Pike (1924-2002), deserve to be recovered.  This Public Diplomacy legend’s insights into what and how insurgencies communicate reach beyond Vietnam.  They offer…