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…

Two figures walk bathed in colored lights

U.S. Broadcasting Chronicles Revival in America’s Heartland

Noted columnist David Brooks recently asserted that what he termed “an American renaissance is already happening.”  He noted that as the national government appears to be divided and polarized, cities far from Washington’s corridors of power are working to transform their communities — large and small. I recently experienced this firsthand in Houston, Texas, America’s fourth…

Author, pointing with men watching

USIA Promoting Peaceful Nuclear Energy

As a consequence of President Eisenhower’s historic 1953 UN General Assembly speech, “Atomic Power for Peace’” the world-wide promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy became the young U.S. Information Agency’s first major mission. I had been managing a U.S. Mission-sponsored Atoms-for-Peace exhibition at the Berlin Industrial Fair. It included a huge replica of…

Global Dialogues and Nativist Travel Bans

The Trump administration’s immigration crackdown directly damages US cultural diplomacy, and undermines the flow of transnational cultural content in ways at once parochial and potentially damaging to the US as a source of global inspiration over the long term. This is how once influential US soft power can become irrelevant. The Trump administration’s anti-immigration crackdown,…

U.S. Capitol building with dome

Making the Hard Case for Soft Power: an Echo

There is room for optimism that Congress will reject the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to exchanges programs and to public diplomacy in general.  However, if you want to defend these programs, now is the time to speak out.

Through our member Sherry Mueller, the Public Diplomacy Council joined major PD advocacy organizations to sponsor “Making the Case for Soft Power” on October 9, where Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) explained his view of the concept from an unusual angle: as a former businessman and diplomat.  Now he represents many of our readers in Congress.  Here’s his advice about advocating for exchanges.