T Nation

Selling Peace and Democracy?

Hey, this can’t be any wackier than the crap regularly seen on these forums…

Who here doesn’t believe the US is the best country on the planet with respect to the business of sales and marketing? Anyone?

Does anyone really think that the worlds greatest consumer driven free market economy can’t find a way to market just about anything?

Surely there must be ways to market democracy, or to market peace, that could be made appealing to the vast moderate populations of non-western countries?

Seriously, if cigarettes can be marketed to children under the watchful eyes of advertising watchdogs, surely we can find a way to create an affinity for some aspects of western culture and values.

As stupid as it sounds, the path to “winning the peace” involves the minds of the populace…

Let’s hear some creative ideas on displacing the hatred and propaganda which serve to inflame the Middle East these days.

Vroom, you silly, stupid peacenik. We’re already doing that! Just think how great Democracy must seem to the poor oppressed Iraqis who are forced to choose daily between the radicals who might behead them or the friendly Americans who might accidentally shoot them or blow them up or ship them away to prison.

This “blitzkrieg” style marketing campaign can be utilized in any market, anywhere, and is guaranteed 100% penetration. With armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds, that is.

We tried that. That’s a big reason they hate us; they think their culture is being undermined by McDonald’s and The Lion King movies.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
We tried that. That’s a big reason they hate us; they think their culture is being undermined by McDonald’s and The Lion King movies.[/quote]

Dude, learn to think.

There is a big difference between trying to market fast food and pop culture and trying to seed moderation in the minds of the populace.

Think about how tires are now being marketed to us.

Babies are shown riding in tires, or riding in a car with extra safe tires, and our concern and care for our children is played upon in the hopes it will influence our choice of tires during our next purchase.

Right now, as evidenced (on CNN) during the recent Israeli incursion, citizens over there are viewing propaganda that shows suicide bombers as heros. Music, imagery, and manliness are all being pushed at youth in order to help them accept this as an appropriate activity.

Are you trying to tell me that there is no way to provide alternative messages that humanize victims, show families saddened at losing children this way, and so on?

I’m tossing out some very obvious things, probably too obvious to actually implement, but advertising, slogans and so forth are able to work pretty effectively in terms of pushing an idea or a thought into the social framework.

Generally this is used to push burgers, soda, tires, cars, politicians, or other crap, but it certainly doesn’t have to be limited to purely commercial products and profits.

While war is certainly one way of implementing foreign policy, it generally has been the result of lack of imagination and failed diplomatic efforts. Getting what you want without resorting to war is often a much wiser and cheaper path.

Any Sun Zsu fans?

There is probably a way to do that, but the US is not doing it. We probably could counter the al-qaeda propaganda internet videos with videos of our own. When we invaded Iraq, after shock and awe, we should have flooded the airwaves with reminders of the horrors of Saddam’s regime and videos of how the Iraqi people initially greeted our troops with great excitement.

Same thing could be said in respect to Afghanistan.

In other words, when the Taliban and Saddam fell, the populace was elated. We should re-inforce those feelings and let the people know exactly who we are fighting and what will happen if we lose.

We should have done all of this before the countries spiraled out of control

I’m sure the islamo-fascist propagandists will now tell us how great life was under Saddam and the Taliban while sitting safely on the sidelines.

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
We probably could…[/quote]

Interesting points.

While I was thinking of a more subtle approach, there certainly may have been some overlooked opportunities.

Piping propaganda into a sovereign country. Most likely not at the behest of the governing body of that country.

Lets take Russia, for instance. They would not tolerate the USA taking control of the airwaves and other media to further it’s goals. They’d cry that we’re subverting the will of the country and rally people through their own propaganda. And with Russia being the way it is now, Putin would claim foreign interference and take complete control of all media, a la Chavez. He’d shut everything down and confiscate all tv’s and radios before he’d let American propaganda take hold.

Even if it was packaged by a Russian… Putin would shut it down a subversive.

Do you think we could get airtime on Al Jazeera? Significant air time?

Hm. Infiltrating media sources with American operatives. Reporter spies. They’d still have to hold executives at gunpoint to get “our” message out. They’d shut down, too, instead of being forced to air material that’s pro-america or pro-democracy.

Face it. You can’t make someone free when they don’t want to be. They want to be told what to do, when. It’s comforting knowing what’s expected of you, 24/7, as dictated by a religion.

What’s shocking is the leaders of Islam don’t forcibly come out and declare suicide bombers, Hamas and other so called freedom fighters are directly going against what the Prophet Mohammed taught.

[quote]kroby wrote:
Piping propaganda into a sovereign country. Most likely not at the behest of the governing body of that country.

Lets take Russia, for instance. They would not tolerate the USA taking control of the airwaves and other media to further it’s goals. They’d cry that we’re subverting the will of the country and rally people through their own propaganda. And with Russia being the way it is now, Putin would claim foreign interference and take complete control of all media, a la Chavez. He’d shut everything down and confiscate all tv’s and radios before he’d let American propaganda take hold.[/quote]

You are sticking yourself in an uncomfortable box and then complaining that while in that box you won’t be able to accomplish anything.

Sure, I can certainly agree, under the limitations you choose, it certainly wouldn’t work.

However, tell me, how many American movies or other harmless items of culture had pervaded into the USSR before it fell? Blasting propaganda over the airwaves is not going to work… people’s bullshit detectors will go off for blatant propaganda.

Strangely, the Internet is something that does not reflect much by way of a government message, but it made a lot of communication and information available to people… and yes, some governments do attempt to control it.

Sure, let’s pick very difficult or silly items so we can knock them down. If that’s the game you want to play, go ahead, if it makes you feel good.

It will take a bit more thought and reflection to figure out ways to make inroads in the areas desired. Put it in the hands of professional marketers, who could probably wrap it into their existing product and service marketing in the region.

LOL. Sure, pretend I’m suggesting we should broadcast “pro-american” propaganda. Come on. At least get serious and consider the issue instead of lashing out.

Now this is an entirely different subject. I may agree that you can’t make someone free if they don’t want to be free. However, whether or not people like the idea of freedom is something that can be influenced in sly ways.

[quote]
What’s shocking is the leaders of Islam don’t forcibly come out and declare suicide bombers, Hamas and other so called freedom fighters are directly going against what the Prophet Mohammed taught.[/quote]

Again, now you are getting somewhere. You are identifying a message that could be worked into some type of media message in a subtle way.

Conflict between existing Islam leaders about what Mohammed taught. Some ideological introspection in the middle of a movie that would appeal to our enemies, such as a bombing or something, could start to encourage some viewers to think more widely.

The idea of finding “seed points” that can illustrate or allow varying viewpoints. Making it more possible for them to be expressed, without being attached to anything western, would be a step.

Hah! Of course they’re already doing it.

After 9/11, many US controlled (I’m not talking about corporations, I’m referring to the government) TV and radio stations have started in the Arab world. Their message is unambiguous. Anyone with a brain who watches or listens to them could tell that it’s blatant propaganda. However, the masses don’t have a clue about who the hell is behind them. They play the sexy card quite often and as a result, are adulated by teens.

I was impressed by the number of people that had no idea who’s controlling those stations. The absolute majority don’t have a clue and couldn’t care less anyway.

In short, that’s an old idea and its implementation is at least four years old. I find it odd that Americans are not aware of how their tax money is being used.

[quote]vroom wrote:
You are sticking yourself in an uncomfortable box and then complaining that while in that box you won’t be able to accomplish anything.[/quote]

Huh? I wasn’t complaining. I was stating that forced propaganda wouldn’t work.

[quote]
kroby wrote:
Do you think we could get airtime on Al Jazeera? Significant air time?

vroom wrote:
Sure, let’s pick very difficult or silly items so we can knock them down. If that’s the game you want to play, go ahead, if it makes you feel good.[/quote]

Game? I was being sincere in debating how unworkable a propaganda war would be. Or did I misunderstand your Sun-tzu reference?

[quote]
vroom wrote:
LOL. Sure, pretend I’m suggesting we should broadcast “pro-american” propaganda. Come on. At least get serious and consider the issue instead of lashing out.[/quote]

Sorry, sometimes, being an american, I tend to forget that the world doesn’t revolve around America. I shall refrain from this and remember that this is about freedom. That is what this is about, right? Getting people to embrace freedom and how to achieve this?

[quote]
vroom wrote:
You are identifying a message that could be worked into some type of media message in a subtle way.[/quote]

Subtle. I forget this is a viable option. Too “subtle” for me.

[quote]
vroom wrote:
Conflict between existing Islam leaders about what Mohammed taught. Some ideological introspection in the middle of a movie that would appeal to our enemies, such as a bombing or something, could start to encourage some viewers to think more widely.

The idea of finding “seed points” that can illustrate or allow varying viewpoints. Making it more possible for them to be expressed, without being attached to anything western, would be a step.[/quote]

I’m not a student of psychological influence. I’m more of a direct type of thinker. That’s why I considered aggressive tactics. I must have missed the whole point of the thread.

[quote]kroby wrote:
Lets take Russia, for instance. They would not tolerate the USA taking control of the airwaves and other media to further it’s goals. They’d cry that we’re subverting the will of the country and rally people through their own propaganda. [/quote]

Go talk to people who lived under the Soviets. Everybody was favoring foreign broadcasts over local ones.

You (i.e: the American people in general) couldn’t name the main foreign stations and newspapers. You’re complacent in front of a viciously sneaky propaganda.

[quote]lixy wrote:
kroby wrote:
Lets take Russia, for instance. They would not tolerate the USA taking control of the airwaves and other media to further it’s goals. They’d cry that we’re subverting the will of the country and rally people through their own propaganda.

Go talk to people who lived under the Soviets. Everybody was favoring foreign broadcasts over local ones.

You (i.e: the American people in general) couldn’t name the main foreign stations and newspapers. You’re complacent in front of a viciously sneaky propaganda.[/quote]

What part of “taking control of the airwaves” don’t you understand? I was talking of physically controlling TASS and it’s content. I wasn’t talking of Radio Free Vietnam combating communist propaganda in a duel over the airwaves.

And as for other foreign news agencies… My favorite is BBC, that being more than any US news entity. Sorry I don’t subscribe to “The Radical Socialist Times” to which you are a contributing editor.

[quote]kroby wrote:
What part of “taking control of the airwaves” don’t you understand? I was talking of physically controlling TASS and it’s content. I wasn’t talking of Radio Free Vietnam combating communist propaganda in a duel over the airwaves.

And as for other foreign news agencies… My favorite is BBC, that being more than any US news entity. Sorry I don’t subscribe to “The Radical Socialist Times” to which you are a contributing editor.[/quote]

Sorry about the misunderstanding. I didn’t like the innuendo you let float about Chavez and the Soviets, so I got carried away. Over 75% of the Venezuelan airwaves (over 80% in UHF!) are controlled by private companies that side with the opposition. Yet, everybody complains about the license of RCTV that wasn’t renewed (which Chavez has every right to do).

I’m a big BBC fan myself, and I congratulate you for you open-mindedness. In general, it’s a balanced media. Now, do you think Americans could use a little interest in foreign media? I mean, there’s only an upside to varying one’s sources. TB and the others often argue that the US shouldn’t care what the rest of the world thinks. Where do you stand on this issue?

Vroom,

How can the US speak about the virtues of democracy when it only recognizes it when the winner is on their side? I’m referring to the refusal to accept the latest results of the ballots in Palestine and the landslide victory of Hamas.

What’s your take on that? Isn’t walking the walk more effective than flapping lips?

I’m interested in your opinion.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Vroom,

How can the US speak about the virtues of democracy when it only recognizes it when the winner is on their side? I’m referring to the refusal to accept the latest results of the ballots in Palestine and the landslide victory of Hamas.

What’s your take on that? Isn’t walking the walk more effective than flapping lips?

I’m interested in your opinion.[/quote]

I know this was addressed to Vroom, but here’s my take on it:

Hamas should not have been allowed to be involved in the Palestinian political process because it is a terrorist group, not a political party.

That not being the case, if I were in charge, I would support Hamas. Once they start floundering as a governing body, they will intensify attacks against Israel to take the heat off their own incompetence. Then, as a government of a separate state, Israel would be able to take the gloves off and go in and defeat these bastards once and for all.

But my feelings are: these guys won, they should rule, for better or worse.

[quote]lixy wrote:
How can the US speak about the virtues of democracy when it only recognizes it when the winner is on their side? I’m referring to the refusal to accept the latest results of the ballots in Palestine and the landslide victory of Hamas.

What’s your take on that? Isn’t walking the walk more effective than flapping lips?

I’m interested in your opinion.[/quote]

Well crap, couldn’t you find an easier question for me?

I find the idea of ignoring election results very troubling – especially in terms of credibility with respect to the Middle East propaganda machines.

However, I have to admit I don’t know enough about the rules of governance that are in place over there.

What role is Hamas playing in the political spectrum? Are they simply a party that wants to use lawful means within the rules of governance to effect change in their society? I suspect that many don’t think so.

Anyway, democracies work best when every person is free to make decisions based on their own thinking. Fundamentalist elements skew things since God trumps politics and causes bloc instead of individual decisions.

I suspect the western world will continue to be surprised by election results in the Middle East…