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For Thursday’s segment of the series, Paul Kretkowski’s Beacon features a post by the eminent scholar Joseph S. Nye, Jr., father of the “Soft Power” concept itself and the former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Nye has also served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology.

A excerpt from Professor Nye’s guest post:

“Public Diplomacy Dateline 1958: Perestroika Begins When a Soviet Visits Columbia UniversityI think the single best episode of public diplomacy of which I am aware was the U.S.-Soviet exchange program that brought Alexander Yakovlev to study at Columbia University in 1958. He was greatly taken by the theories of pluralism taught by Professor David Truman. He applied these ideas as a key exponent of perestroika and glasnost after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the 1980s. This helped to accelerate a peaceful end to the Cold War and to the Soviet Union. Although it took two decades to pay off, it is difficult to think of a greater impact than that. (I describe the event in more detail in Chapter 2 of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.)”

Read Dr. Joseph S. Nye’s post in full here.

1958 must have been quite a year at Columbia for future Soviet bloc historical figures. That year also saw as exchange students the future KGB General Oleg Kalugin and Hafiazullah Amin, the bloodthirsty Marxist Prime Minister of Afghanistan who was toppled and murdered in the Tajbeg Palace by special KGB commandos in the Soviet invasion of 1979.

Blogging Note:

More to come tonight…..

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