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  • Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction (CSIS Significant Issues, No. 26) (Csis Significant Issues Series)
    Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction (CSIS Significant Issues, No. 26) (Csis Significant Issues Series)
    by Robert C. Orr
  • Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World
    Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World
    by Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart
  • The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Vintage)
    The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Vintage)
    by Rupert Smith
  • Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
    Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
    by John Robb
  • Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
    Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
    by Paul Collier
  • The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
    State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
    by Francis Fukuyama
  • When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
    When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
    Princeton University Press
  • Building States to Build Peace
    Building States to Build Peace
    Lynne Rienner Publishers
  • Making States Work: State Failure And The Crisis Of Governance
    Making States Work: State Failure And The Crisis Of Governance
    United Nations University Press
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Entries in Public Diplomacy (2)

Tuesday
Mar022010

Animal Farm

Once upon a time the CIA helped fund and edit the script for the brilliant film Animal Farm, which was released during the height of the Cold War and helped turn generations of school children against communist dictatorships.  This was helped along by the fact the movie was generally shown in schools as part of the curriculum, after which a class discussion on its allegorical nature was held.  The CIA is out of the film business now (I think), but the movie is a useful example of how art can help influence the public, one way or the other.



 

For those who haven't seen Animal Farm (the classic 1954 version), you can watch the entire thing on YouTube by clicking here.



Saturday
Feb202010

Weaponize Ridicule

This clip about bumbling jihadis in the new movie The Four Lions is hilarious . . .

 

 

It comes via J. Michael Waller whose Political Warfare blog has a great series of posts on how comedy can be used to help defeat radical extremist movements.  Osama Bin Laden has previously stated that he isn't afraid of dying but that he's afraid of being humiliated.  According to Waller, one way to make his worst fears come true is by making fun of him and those wishing to mirror his actions.  

 

"Ridicule," says Waller, "strips the terrorist of his power.  If we stop being afraid, we turn the icons of fear into objects of contempt."

 

While mockery won't solve the problem of terrorism, which is essentially blowback resulting from specific U.S. government actions abroad and can only be solved through a smarter foreign policy and less meddling in the affairs of other nations, it can be used to draw support away from extremist organizations seeking support from the masses. 

 

Satire has a long and established history of being used to subvert the beliefs of those who it is directed against.  If we hope to influence the minds and wills (hearts don't mean anything . . . so what if someone likes you if they're not willing to do anything to support you) of the populations who provide the sources of support for violent extremists, we'd be much better off churning out more films like The Four Lions.