Evolution of Public Diplomacy One Mutation at a Time

Last week offered two glimpses of U.S. public diplomacy’s gradual evolution. The State Department received confirmation that a merger between two of its three public diplomacy bureaus will move ahead.  International Information Programs and the Public Affairs bureau will become the Bureau of Global Public Affairs. A less visible but deeper change went public Thursday,…

The Hard Case for Soft Power: Four D.C. Roundtables Reflect Challenges and Impact

What is U.S. “soft power” in a digital world? A key facet is the ability to form international friendships, person-to-person and organization-to-organization, in the 21st century. This enhances, in a very human way, “hard power,” the ability to affect militarily the fate of societies and nations around the globe. Here in Washington, soft power advocates…

What Can Public Diplomacy Learn from a Fighter Pilot?

Air Force Colonel John Boyd (1927-1999), “the fighter pilot who changed the art of war,” was a key military thinker in the last decades of the 20th century.  His energy-maneuverability theory revolutionized fighter tactics, and his famous “Patterns of Conflict” briefing has deeply influenced two generations of military strategists. Public Diplomacy is an instrument of…

map of the middle east

Faint Glimmers of Hope in a Devastated Middle East?

In an essay entitled “The Middle East: Regional Disorder,” Columbia University Professor Lawrence G. Potter warns of the impact on global security of catastrophic developments in that troubled region. It’s a prime reason for U.S. and international public diplomacy, in all its forms. Writing in the 2019 edition of the Foreign Policy Association’s annual Great…