War is a poor way to control and influence others.
A better way is propaganda. It surprises me that Russia resorts to war in Ukraine when its propaganda machine is so effective. Invasions leave enemies who just want to kill you.
The best way is to use propaganda that’s not even recognized as propaganda.
That’s what U.S. does so well. They call it the “entertainment industry.” Others call it the exportation of U.S. culture. Fundamentally, its propaganda. It portrays the American way of life as ideal; despite the fact that millions of Americans who face poverty, discrimination and poor access to health care.
Tanner Mirrless, in his book Hearts and Mines, The US Empire’s Culture Industry details the U.S. propaganda machine. The way of winning the world was formulated long ago.
“On April 14,1917, a week after the US joined the Allied forces by declaring war on Germany, President Woodrow Wilson used his executive power to establish the Committee on Public Information (CPI) for the purpose of rallying US and world opinion to the cause of defeating Germany and promoting the supremacy of the United States’ liberal democratic capitalist ideals,” says Mirrless.
“The CPI mobilized every sector of the US culture industry, especially the PR wing, in order to engineer public consent to its version of America and to censor expressions of dissent.”
The U.S. cultural industry has had a profound effect on the spread of American values. With the advent of rock ‘n’ roll in the sixties, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley were all sporting blue denim. This aesthetic penetrated the Soviet Bloc and Russian youths clamored for the apparel of the rebel U.S. culture.
Bruce Springsteen released Born In The USA in 1984. The cover, shot by Annie Lebovitz, featured Springsteen’s ass in all its American glory, clad in a pair of jeans – these were jeans that had been worn by a red-blooded, all-American male. “It was the ass of free-market capitalism (dazeddigital.com).”
Russian youths enthusiastically embraced jeans and all that they represented. It was a propaganda coup.
Despite the successes of the mighty U.S. propaganda machine, the U.S. continues to go to war with bad outcomes.
The American invasion of Canada in the War of 1812 didn’t go well for the Yankees. In retaliation, we invaded Washington City and burned down the Capitol. It was the only time since the American Revolutionary War that a foreign power has captured and occupied the capital of the United States.
In echoes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, then past U.S. President Thomas Jefferson declared in August,1812, “The acquisition of Canada, this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching.”
Russian president Putin displays the same hubris as Jefferson when he imagines a walk in the park as Ukrainians throw flowers and kisses at the liberating troops.
If you want to gain influence and control of others, don’t corner them in a back alley with a gang of thugs at your back and beat them up –win them over with entertainment that carries your culture.
Persuasion is far more effective than war. It’s time we sent the military types like Putin to the corner with a dunce cap on and let them reflect on the error of their ways.
“Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer. (Sun Tzu).”