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…

portrait of Eugene Kopp

Eugene Kopp, a cherished leader of U.S. public diplomacy

Eugene Kopp, who served twice as Deputy Director of USIA (1973-1977 and 1989-1992) and as Acting Director in 1976 -1977, died on Monday, May 13, 2019, of cardiac arrest. Mr. Kopp, a political appointee of Republican Presidents, engendered an unusual degree of respect and affection from a generation of government employees working in public diplomacy. …

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…

A Tale of Metrics: Japan’s Wartime News and Propaganda

“Metrics,” “data,” “evaluation,” and “results, not outputs” have proven to be real challenges for Public Diplomacy and strategic communication.  So has demonstrating that a program, activity, or campaign “moves the needle.” Yesteryear Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Information Service posts religiously tallied “placements.” From time to time, USIA’s research office commissioned surveys. At the dawn…