March 28, 2006
Rumsfeld notices US particularly unskilled in agitprop.
I've noted this any number of times, so it's not particularly news, however I was touched when I saw Rumsfeld: U.S. Struggles to Combat Anti-American Propaganda.
Of course, in order to combat agitprop, one has to have one's own agitprop that actually speaks to the targetted audiences. Since as far as I can tell, US efforts largely seem to be navel-gazing translations of American self-image, the failure is, well, rather to be expected.
The problem, at its core, is navel-gazing and a staggering dislike of "understanding" the enemy. Or even one's targets.
Of course the current US Administration's staggering incompetence in foreign policy fields has resulted in negative perceptions of the US around the globe (knocking good 30 odd points off of US popularity everywhere is a bit brilliant).
Posted by The Lounsbury at March 28, 2006 05:09 PM
Filed Under: US Foreign Policy
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Amost topical: What's Aqoul's take on this? http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/008026.php
Posted by: David Weman at March 29, 2006 12:39 AM
The trouble with democracy and propagandizing: domestic audience votes, foreigners don't. Who do you propagandize to, the navel-gazing domestic people with ballots or uncouth foreigners who might be tossing bombs one day?
Posted by: kao_hsien_chih at March 29, 2006 12:41 AM
I find the voter angle as an explanation of an inability to develop agitprop completely irrelevant.
Other Western democracies develop agitprop with some value, the US inability in this area strikes me as derived from other issues, not democracy per se.
Posted by: collounsbury at March 29, 2006 01:00 AM
I have no idea, but I doubt that is Baghdad. Signage looks wrong, as well as the buildings.
Wierd claim on the part of the candidate.
Posted by: collounsbury at March 29, 2006 01:13 AM
I have no idea. But there aren't THAT many visible street signs - only 3 or 4, so Marshall's complaint about the lack of visible Arabic script is a bit off. (Especially if this is a westernized bit of the city, which it must be, if that woman with the sleeveless top is to be explained). For that matter, Western-looking billboard models are used a lot as well, at least in other Middle Eastern cities.
(And even if the picture is legit, the argument that because you can find one five-minute block of time where people are out on the streets going about their day's business, there is no civil war is obvious bullshit.)
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 29, 2006 01:50 AM
However, this does seem like a convincing argument.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 29, 2006 02:08 AM
the picture question has been solved. it's in turkey, most likely marmaris. check the various links.
end of story.
good example for how a politician lies to the voters.
not relevant to the post, though.
Posted by: raf* at March 29, 2006 05:10 AM
Off topic, but I wanted to flag Martin Wolf's column in today's FT (3/29/06) where he kindly but firmly takes ex-US sovereigns to the shed for a global savings glut that he fingers as the predominant causal factor for the US current account deficit. The noneconomist will find it quite accessible. So run to your nearest Barnes and Noble today to read it for free while supplies last.
Posted by: blowncue at March 29, 2006 03:32 PM
L., this is something i deal with on a daily basis, and it is very troubling.
It seems efforts to reach moderate muslims, or the pious middle, whatever you want to call it, consist largely of westerners pointing out how horrible Islam is (and how vastly inferior to christianity and other belief systems) and attacking them for
1. not vociferously condemning the jihaadis and fundamentalists
and 2. essentially, attacking them for not being just the same as us.
none of those approachs strikes me as exceptionally persuasive or as good propaganda.
good propaganda should be undetectable as such. it should be subtle and subversive.
Banging someone over the head with quotes from the haditha and yelling (sotto voce, i guess) "why don't you convert already?" is not exactly subtle.
sorry my thoughts are so scattered, but i just had to say something!
lunchtime's over, *sigh*
Posted by: jinnilyyah at March 29, 2006 03:41 PM
I agree that US communications with the MENA world and Islamic world are just not well conceived or well done.
I find it irritating to witness ( as in al-Hurra ).
I am not sure that the Westerners attacking Islam issue is the same. That's more on the lines of public discourse, which is itself disappointing, and sadly sounds like the sorts of things my all-too Protestant forebears used to say about the Filthy Papists.
There are, of course, real issues, however the conflict of civilisations rhetoric strikes me as unhelpful and mostly overblown.
The issue is more of a concern personally when it has the potential of spilling into the business world and wrecking commercial relations. DPW was a key example of that kind of idiocy.
Posted by: collounsbury at March 29, 2006 03:59 PM
ok. i've watched it for so long. and i've been quiet. but i just can't take it anymore.
the plural of hadiith (حديث) is ahaadith (احادث). arabic grammar is FUN.
Posted by: raf* at March 29, 2006 04:51 PM
Sorry, Raf, I'm afraid that in this case hadith has been sucked into the maelstrom that is English & now admits of a "s" plural, much like "sheikh".
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 29, 2006 05:18 PM
Haouadith means fairy stories or something like that.... Afraid not the plural you'd want to apply politely.
Posted by: collounsbury at March 29, 2006 05:50 PM
hawaadith (حوادث) is the plural of haadith (حادث), meaning "occurance, event, incident, mishap (like a car accident)". there is also the plural form hidath (حداث) of the word hadiith (حديث) but in that case it's an adjective (new, recent)
so ... hadiith (حديث) with long i is "prophetic tradition" whereas haadith (حادث) with long a is "event".
hadiith / ahaadiith (حديث / احاديث) - prophetic tradition
hadiith / hidaath (حديث / حداث) - new, novel, recent
haadith / hawaadith (حادث / حوادث)- event, accident
Posted by: raf* at March 29, 2006 06:14 PM
Oh, right, as in hawadith ihdash aylool &c. Got it.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 29, 2006 07:05 PM
oooooh, correct me again, raf!
nu, i love arabic, but i am not very good yet.
i hope to improve by hangin' around here.
Posted by: jinnilyyah at March 29, 2006 11:53 PM