Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why the Hell are We Where We Are?

In essence, what's led to a situation where a cave dwelling operative of al Qaeda is beating us at our own game of info. ops?

Mountain Runner has long railed against the very obvious lack of concentration in regards to info ops and the pathetic fact that the US is, in fact, lagging way behind our enemy. A recent discussion at MR's excellent blog tossed me into this realm of thought as I posed a multi-part question of vast proportions to MR regarding our inability to capture the IO flag:

"What initiative should be engaged to combat it? Propaganda films? A radical shift in education? How can the US reach out through the haze of Paris Hilton and American Idol, tap a citizen on the shoulder, crook a finger and lead him into the cause in the same fashion that bin Laden and has been doing for some 23 years now?"
It's funny my focus is immediately on the populace, the culture, the identity of our country via it's people and what they engage in or follow or generally consider important. From my perspective our own culture has become so willfully cocooned in their own separate comfortable ideological wombs that most are simply (and willfully) ignorant of the world at large and how events afar can have a very powerful consequence that steers events at home.

Mountain Runners response to my question leans heavily on the desperate nature of our own political stasis (and I posit stasis as a negative attribute.)

"...part of the present image/perception problem stems from the fact we've wrapped reality with so many blankets of lies for self-serving US political reasons, that to unravel the lies and expose the realities creates all sorts of quandries for the politicians.

The solution? Probably a mea culpa of some sort. Not gonna happen, although we've seen tiny glimmers of it here and there."

[An aside: The above is a very small portion of MR's response and is used to fuel my post. I very much encourage everyone to visit and read both the original post and the whole commentary for an objective understanding.]

Politically and culturally we have, thus far, tossed the ball to our enemy. MountainRunner presents a fragment of the solution to the shallow failure of America when it comes to the IO initiative. The return of the statesman who serves his country and not his cause, who meets the ideology of the enemy head on and doesn't care a gnat's ass about who his realism offends.

What of the cultural disconnection? Perhaps a return of the real statesman would tear America from their collective cocoon and redirect the excellent intellectual propensity that has made us great away from the mundane and into reality. A fine fantasy as I suspect that few Americans pine for another Teddy Roosevelt, rather are quite happy being massaged ideologically by their elected officials and lend themselves to some degree of ideological slavery as they are quite comfortable choosing a side (liberal, conservative) and subsequently being told what to believe.

An open question: Is there a solution?


Adrian said...

I'm running a conference on this topic in DC on Sept 25-26. It's open to the public. Once we nail down some more of the presenters I'll start publicizing it.

Steve said...

I think Paris Hilton and American Idol DO constitute the propaganda. It's probably more effective than anything else we could come up with.

Ymarsakar said...

Aside from ineffective long term boondock projects such as education, you're going to need things that are real and impact the lives of individuals across the world.

No amount of rhetoric is as important an action as kicking the UN out of new york. That is a real action, talking is just talk, the world respects it not.

Jay@Soob said...


Will this conference be in DC? Looking forward to more info!


Your damn right it's effective. It's taken on something of a Walter Mitty visage as our populace seems quite happy to live vicariously through the actions of others be it reality tv or the bizarre obsession with celebrity. Ever hear someone refer to Brad Pitt as simply "Brad" as though they'd just finished a spontaneous lunch date with him?


Kick the UN out of New York in a figurative fashion or literal?


Adrian said...

Yeah it'll be in DC at National Defense University. So far we have a couple guys from RAND who wrote the "Enlisting Madison Avenue" study, and an E5 and O3 delivering a "case study" report on info ops in Ramadi.

I'll stick something up here when we have a more solid agenda.

Ymarsakar said...

Kick the UN out of New York in a figurative fashion or literal?

Either or. The UN has too many spies inside the United States already, it would be rather counter-productive to also give them free real estate to go along with this access.

The optimum path would be to move the entire UN building somewhere else, like Britain or France or Brussels. Combine them with the EU and just bunch your enemies all into one grand alliance. That way it'll make it easier for anyone else to cut across the lines to join an alternative alliance.

The other half of the reason for people joining the UN is so they can grandstand on American soil and act like they are important or something. Chavez did something similar recently.