Public diplomacy in its many forms proved a great asset for the United States during the Cold War. A new book by Yale Richmond, a retired U.S. official who for many years was involved with policy toward the Soviet Union, including U.S. Soviet exchanges, highlights the importance of the “cultural” dimension of the Cold War. Richmond focuses on the U.S. side of the U.S. Soviet exchanges, but he also provides interesting comments about Soviet policy, drawing on newly declassified materials from the former Soviet archives. The exchanges, information programs, and other activities undertaken by the U.S. Information Agency and the Department of State played a crucial role in spreading democratic ideas and values within the Soviet bloc. Candid and balanced broadcasts were far more effective than the heavy—handed propaganda that was used initially. The record of public diplomacy during the Cold War provides some important lessons for U.S. foreign policy makers in the post—Cold War world.

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