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Re-Thinking Public Diplomacy Ten Lessons From Its History. Nick Cull University of Southern California. USIA. Founded by Eisenhower in 1953 Built from State, Marshall Plan & OWI Included Film, Radio, TV & Publications Embassy information centers & libraries Achievements astonishing

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re thinking public diplomacy ten lessons from its history

Re-Thinking Public DiplomacyTen Lessons From Its History

Nick Cull

University of Southern California

  • Founded by Eisenhower in 1953
  • Built from State, Marshall Plan & OWI
  • Included Film, Radio, TV & Publications
  • Embassy information centers & libraries
  • Achievements astonishing
  • Cold War won FOR the free market but NOT won BY the free market media…
  • ‘Consolidated’ back into State in 1999
  • Lost its academic support structure
1 the practices are old

Cultural Diplomacy

State Sponsored News

Psychological Warfare

in Ancient Greece

in the Roman Republic

in Medieval Germany

as old as War Paint

1: The Practices are OLD

Consistent Lessons:

I. The power of PD as a multiplier

II. The importance of credibility

III. The danger of the unintended consequence

IV. Need for analysis & supply-side study

2 the term in new
2. The Term in NEW
  • Coined 1965 by Edmund Gullion,
  • Embraced by USIA
  • Better than Propaganda or Information
  • Argument for expansion
  • Argument for professional respect
  • NOT used elsewhere till 1990s…
  • NEW PD goes beyond govt. to include international CULTURAL RELATIONS
  • MOVING beyond the past…
3 the us is sceptical
3. The US is Sceptical…
  • Feared like a standing army
  • Justified only in emergency
  • US prefers commerce/philanthropy
  • LACKS a major constituency
  • PLENTY of natural rivals
  • Often VENUE for domestic struggles.
  • NEEDED its Advisory Commission
  • Needs advocates today…
4 the cold war was anomalous
4. The Cold War was Anomalous
  • US PD born of WWII & New Deal liberalism
  • KEY FACTOR threat of Communism
  • NEVER fully accepted on Hill
  • Actually a dimension rather than a crisis tool
  • US PD hostage to the end of Cold War…
  • Beware of arguments based on War on Terror
  • Second Chance to build on the best practice
  • Opportunity to get it RIGHT
5 its elements are contradictory
5. Its Elements Are Contradictory
  • Advocacy, Culture, & News agendas clash
  • Field & Washington can clash
  • Contradictory agendas guarantee tensions
  • Tensions guarantee external spill over into press
  • VOA divided Journo v. Lang. v. FSO v. Admin.
  • News, Advocacy & Culture can harm each other
  • Answer = firewalls (like VOA charter)
  • Needs advocacy for elements as well as whole
6 it is very leader sensitive
6. It is very ‘Leader Sensitive’
  • Newcomer to bureaucratic hierarchy
  • Responsibilities ‘tread on toes’
  • Starts from position of weakness
  • Tendency to attract criticism
  • Need a special sort of leader
  • Need direct link to White House
  • NEED C. D. Jackson or Charles Z. Wick
  • HAVE USoS w/o management capacity
  • NEED intervention at campaign level
7 it is not separate from foreign policy
7. It is NOT separate from Foreign Policy
  • NOT a ‘magic bullet’ to ‘move the needle’
  • CAN’T save a flawed policy
  • CAN’T dodge the audience’s agenda
  • MUST have in-put UP the policy chain
  • NEEDS a mandated seat on NSC
  • OTHERWISE cleaning-up after the parade
  • NEEDS to be figured into policy equation
8 but pd is distinct
8. BUT PD is distinct
  • Needs career path & valued staff
  • Needs nurture of special & diverse skills
  • Original staff recruited ‘mid career’
  • Needs bank of experience
  • Needs attention to parallel practices
  • Needs professional career development
  • Needs scholarly analysis and advocacy
  • Needs restored role of Academic support
9 not all messages are intended
9. Not all messages are intended
  • Excellent work can come from small things
  • Excellent work can be undone by bad policy
  • Beware of the unintended consequence
  • Foreign Students need especial care
  • Showing AND Telling (case of Watergate)
  • Need for sustained analysis
  • Need to think outside the box
  • Watch for missed opportunities
10 there must be mutuality
10. There must be mutuality
  • Goal = better relationship
  • Need BOTH sides speaking
  • Need BOTH sides respectful
  • Need BOTH open to being changed
  • West needs to LEARN to listen
  • Need PD from THEM to US
  • Need develop THEIR PD
  • Obvious role for USC’s Center
the present crisis
The Present Crisis
  • Danger of short term-ism
  • Inadequate structure @ State
  • Under investment & ‘trade offs’
  • Spill-over of security concerns
  • Misapplication of lessons of the past
  • Iraq 2005 is not Germany or Japan, 1946
  • Middle East 2005 is not Eastern Europe, 1988
  • Can always reach for a new generation…
  • Potential of expanded NED
the future
New competitors

New alliances

New opportunities

New players

New methods

New ways of living





Internet etc


The Future

“In this great future, you can’t forget your past…”

Value in studying the history of PD