Areas of PDC activity, including academic study, professional practice and advocacy

“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,…

Is the End in Sight to Yemen’s Civil War?

A ceasefire in Yemen’s civil conflict, now in its fifth year, now appears, at last, to be coming into view. The conflict has cost tens of thousands of lives and been described by U.N. officials as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” “If the fighting continues through 2022,” a U.N. development report released October 10 said,…

Memories of Lou Olom (1917-2019)

Lou was one of the most thoughtful, dedicated, and politically savvy public diplomacy professionals of his generation.  Louis T. Olom (1917-2019), a career civil servant, will be remembered for his many contributions to public diplomacy during the years in which it was gradually gaining acceptance as a field of professional practice in US diplomacy. Lou’s…

Leo Lemay’s Great American Reader

In 1988, the U.S. Information Agency’s Division for the Study of the United States published An Early American Reader for scholars outside the U.S.  It was compiled and edited by Professor J. A. Leo Lemay (1935-2008), the du Pont Winterthur Professor at the University of Delaware.  Lemay — also known as the “Ambassador of Early…