Creating Connected Constituencies: The Strategy and Limits of US Propaganda and Influence in Early Cold War Syria, 1945–60

In: Diplomatica
Author: Idir Ouahes1
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This article examines the state-private network binding cultural diplomatic institutions, East Coast establishment elites and US psychological operations against Soviet Russia in early Cold War (1945–60) Syria. It outlines the role of the State Department, the United States Information Agency (usia), and the short-lived Psychological Strategy Board (psb)’s efforts to coordinate a coherent US psychological strategy to influence Syria’s elites and to make connected constituents of them via the “long-established instruments” of the state-private network. Among these instruments were the Near East Foundation (nef), the Franklin Books Program, and the Committee of Correspondence (CoC). A key argument of this article is that the “Eisenhower escalation” of the Cold War, which culminated in the 1957 attempted coup in Syria, was not a radical departure that ruined the previous “century of friendship” between Syria and the US. Instead, it was a risky and frustrated gamble seeking to reverse the pre-existing loss of US influence.

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