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…

President Nieto and Donald Trump sitting

Building on the U.S. Partnership with Mexico: an Expert’s Analysis

Two years ago this week, Mexican-U.S. relations took a deep dive, when Mexico’s former President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting in Washington with incoming President Donald Trump during Mr. Trump’s first week in office. The dispute centered on Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for construction of a planned wall along unfinished sections of…

Public Diplomacy: Truth-Power in a Digital Age

It was October 15. 2015. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, recently renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media, heard some sound advice about the power of the five taxpayer-funded multimedia networks it leads. “To state the obvious,” guest speaker Adam Clayton Powell III told the Board, “not everything is true, some things are provably false.…